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Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo: Statistical Greatness

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams both had astounding games yesterday to lead their teams to victory.

Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo: Statistical Greatness

Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams treated basketball fans with point guard play and statistical production that has not surfaced for decades.  Rondo picked up his fourth triple-double of the season yesterday against the New York Knicks.  That's nothing special by itself.  Rondo sneaks in triple-doubles quite frequently.  But his line is awe-inducing: 18 points, 20 assists, and 17 rebounds.

Deron Williams and the Nets took on the Charlotte Bobcats and Williams damn nearly beat them all by himself.  Williams scored a casual 57 points (the highest total of any player in the NBA this season) while making 21 out of 21 free throws.  He also happened to pick up six rebounds and dish out seven assists in the process as New Jersey took down Charlotte.

How rare are these accomplishments?  I played around on Basketball-Reference's Play Index to try and see how frequently stat lines like these have been put up.  Full disclosure, I am a novice when it comes to the Play Index, but here's what I found.  First, I searched for players that had scored >/= 50 points with at least 20 free throws made and attempted. 

(Embedding the charts is creating some formatting issues within the post, so find the list by clicking here)

When you look at the chart in the link above, you notice that only Williams and Kobe Bryant made all of the 20+ free throws they took.  All of the 14 games listed display the kind of efficiency required to put up scoring outputs like that.  You need to shoot a high percentage from the field (Williams shot 55.2 percent from the field against Charlotte), get to the free throw line (21 attempts) and you need to make your free throws (we covered that).  Getting to the line isn't the end-all way to have games like this, but it helps you get there and it makes you more efficient.  

Now for Rajon Rondo.  Because his assist totals were so staggering, I entered in your run-of-the-mill 15-15-15 triple-double (so many hyphens!) to see what came up.

Rajon Rondo G 2012-03-04 BOS NYK W 48 7 20 .350 0 0 4 7 .571 17 20 1 1 4 18
Jason Kidd G 2010-02-26 DAL @ ATL W 46 7 18 .389 4 10 .400 1 2 .500 16 17 2 0 3 19
Magic Johnson G-F 1989-04-18 LAL DEN W 40 6 15 .400 4 8 .500 8 8 1.000 17 17 3 1 5 24
Jason Kidd G 1996-01-30 DAL LAC W 48 8 19 .421 3 6 .500 2 4 .500 16 16 2 0 8 21
Magic Johnson G-F 1989-04-01 LAL @ DEN L 45 6 16 .375 0 4 .000 8 10 .800 17 15 2 0 8 20
Larry Bird F 1987-04-01 BOS WSB W 44 11 20 .550 0 3 .000 8 8 1.000 17 15 1 3 4 30
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 3/5/2012.

Rondo is in a league of his own as far as assists go, but that is some extremely estimable company.  When a player rack up stats like that, he is in total control of the game.  Watching Rondo yesterday, I saw a player that controlled the game and dictated play on both sides of the court.  And he did it in that ho-hum, nonchalant way we're all accustomed to seeing.  He makes this look so easy.

Because the play index only goes back to 1985-1986, some games are left off the respective lists (Oscar Robertson immediately comes to mind) but the point is this: it's extremely rare to see players put up numbers like this.  We got to see two players do it on the same day.  As basketball fans, let's sit back and appreciate what we just witnessed instead of wondering where both of these guys are going to be playing next year.

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