Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Rajon Rondo stayed in the game in the fourth quarter of Boston’s blowout loss to the Pistons so he could extend his streak of double-digit assists to 34 games yesterday.And some people in the basketball world are calling him out for it.
Bob Voulgaris (who Nate Silver called “maybe the best sports bettor in the world”), had this to say when Rondo passed on a fast break instead of taking an open lay-up:
Rondo with a great steal, and an absolutely braindead assist whore pass.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) November 19, 2012
That spawned a discussion of Rondo on Twitter, and Zach Lowe of Grantland chimed in as well:
RE: Rondo: He’s been stat-padding for years. Some is fine (i.e. deferring on a 2-on-0 fast-break), some unhealthy (passing up lay-ins).
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) November 19, 2012
There’s no doubt that Rondo is padding his stats, but does this specific type of stat-padding really qualify as a violation of basketball ethics?
Stat-padding is bad because it’s inherently selfish, but at the same time assists are inherently unselfish — we even use lack of assists when talking about scorers like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony as proof of selfishness.
So we’re left with yet another Rondo paradox. Is he so unselfish that he’s selfish? Does focusing on assists rather than points dissolve the inherent unselfishness of assists?
Questions on questions.
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