Here with your weekly look at the Wiz is Mr. Irrelevant contributing writer Bryan Frantz.
There aren’t many doubleheaders in the NBA regular season, so basketball fans are in for a treat when the Wizards and Celtics face off on consecutive nights this Sunday and Monday. Washington is riding a four-game win streak and, at 13-5, will be a heavy favorite over the 6-11 Celtics, though Boston is on a two-game win streak of its own.
Regardless, this doubleheader is worthy of its own post simply because of the showdown between former Kentucky stars John Wall and Rajon Rondo.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2010 has been putting on a show all season in D.C., and Bradley Beal’s return has made his life that much easier. Wall, third in the league in assists, has at least 12 in each of the last three games and is averaging a career-high 9.8 dimes per game.
Meanwhile, Rondo has been doing Rondo things in Boston. He’s never been much of a scorer, and he’s putting up just 8.6 ppg this year. On the other hand, he leads the league in assists with 11.3 per game and is averaging a ridiculous 7.4 rebounds per game. For context, Marcin Gortat is the only Wizard who grabs more than seven boards a night, and he’s a center. Rondo is a point guard.
For an idea of what each player brings to their team, just look at their most recent games. Both players played Friday night and had more or less the kind of game you expect them to have.
Wall dropped nine points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal in a 119-89 rout of the Nuggets. Rondo put up 12 points, 16 assists, eight rebounds and a steal in a 17-point win over the Lakers.
Both statistically and anecdotally, the two point guards are very different players. The stats show both players fill up the box score, but Wall is much more of a scorer and Rondo’s rebounding and assist numbers dwarf Wall’s.
Wizards fans know how much fun it can be to watch Wall when he’s got it going, but Rondo is as close to Oscar Robertson as we may ever get. Robertson, who famously averaged a triple double in the 1961-62 season, averaged 9.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game for his career to go along with 25.7 points. Rondo will never bring his scoring numbers to those levels, but he’s one of the most likely players to drop a triple-double on any given night.
Rondo also does awesome stuff like this …
… and this …
… and his early-game shenanigans are always amusing:
Wall is every bit as entertaining, if not more so:
I was going to put another couple clips in here, but you’ve seen him play. Also, that’s probably my favorite John Wall video ever, and I think it says pretty much all you need to know about him.
Finally, this matchup has a chance of actually living up to the hype.
First and foremost, the players actually will be matched up against each other. I hate when people call a Wizards-Cavs game a showdown between Wall and LeBron James — they don’t play the same position and hardly ever guard each other.
Both Wall and Rondo are top-notch defenders (Wall leads all point guards in both blocks and steals per game), and it should be highly entertaining to watch them battle.
And if you need any other reason to be excited for two of the best point guards in basketball going head-to-head twice in 30 hours, just consider that the first game tips off at 1 p.m. on Sunday. And what else are you going to do then, watch the Redskins-Rams game?