The guys at Sea of Blue decided to do us all a favor and take an analytical look at the first ten games of Rajon Rondo’s and John Wall’s careers at UK. They only looked at ‘tempo free’ stats (assists%, TO%, steals%, shot%, eFG%, offensive rebound%, and free throw rate), ostensibly in an attempt to take into account the drastic differences in style of play in Tubby’s Cats v. Calipari’s.
The article isn’t lengthy, so I don’t want to give the entire thing away. A few things to note:
– Wall turns the ball over a little more than Rondo at this stage; although, and the guys at Sea of Blue mention this as well, I believe the majority of that has to deal with the pace Wall plays at compared to the one Rondo played. Wall is encouraged to push the ball, which, inevitably, will lead to more turnovers. I don’t care if you’ve got John Stockton running the show, aggression = more mistakes. But, it also = more easy buckets. Also, Tubby kept Rondo–and every player, for that matter—on a much tighter leash. You simply weren’t going to turn the ball over excessively and get serious minutes in his system.
– Rondo gets to the line more than Wall. The guys at Sea of Blue attribute this to Wall’s speed, sayinghe does a better job of pulling away from people once he gets free. I’m not sure I totally agree with this. For one, we all remember Rondo was never a great shooter, but I think we sometimes forget just how atrocious he really was when he came to UK. Not only did he not shoot threes, unless the shot clock or game clock was running down, he rarely took any jumpers at all. Rondo made his living in the paint, and it’d be interesting to see a shot chart that puts a percentage on the location of his attempts. I’d be willing to bet upwards of 60% came within ten feet, and when you spend that much time with the bigs, and you’re as quick as Rondo, more contact will be the result.
– Wall actually has more steals at this point than Rondo. This one pretty much blew my mind, but I don’t know if anyone could expect Wall to end the season with more steals than Rondo. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Rondo broke my messiah’s single season steals record in his freshman year—quite the task considering Turner played in a full court trapping system designed to create turnovers.