Before I get into this, allow me to clarify that this post is not being made to criticize Rajon Rondo. My intent is to question the suspect manner in which NBA scorekeepers count assists. In the following video, which has been provided by the NBA’s official Youtube channel, you will see each and every one of the 20 assists Rondo was credited for in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Raptors. The Celtics won easily as Rondo extended his double-digit dime streak to 33 games…
So, uh, an entry pass to a guy who makes a complete post move prior to scoring a contested hook shot constitutes an assist now? Paul Pierce can receive a pass near HALF COURT, take FOUR DRIBBLES, and CHANGE DIRECTIONS prior to scoring and earn Rajon Rondo an assist in the process? Either I don’t understand what an assist is or the NBA is handing out some bogus dimes.
This is old news, really. The scorekeepers in New Orleans were notoriously lenient with Chris Paul during his time with the Hornets, and Rondo has been being awarded his share of fraudulent dishes for a few seasons now. Hell, one former scorekeeper admitted to giving Nick Van Exel 23 assists one night simply because he could. Rondo’s 20-assist game vs Toronto is nothing new, but merely the latest example of this shameful inflation of statistics.
By my count, and by the NBA’s definition of an assist (“a pass leading directly to a basket”), Rondo should’ve finished with a maximum of 16 helpers yesterday, and maybe even as few as 12. A scorekeeper’s interpretation of the assist is inherently subjective, but I think we can all agree that any pass followed by a complete, individual move prior to the score should not warrant an assist. That standard instantly wipes away 4 of Rondo’s dimes (:06, :18, 1:13, 1:50) and brings 4 others (:25, :38, 1:06, 1:34) into question. I think I’d have given him the assists on :25 and 1:34, but not :38 and 1:06, leaving him with a total of 14, which is still a very impressive number.
The moral of the story? Watch the game.