Perkins: Bryant, Wade no longer among ‘Best Three on the Planet’

MIAMI – During last season’s playoffs, at a time when Heat guard Dwyane Wade was struggling in the Eastern Conference finals, I wrote that I’d rather have Celtics guard Rajon Rondo than Wade. Nothing has happened to change that opinion.

There’s a New World Order in the NBA. In my world, anyway.

My “Best Three Players on the Planet” are

  1. LeBron James
  2. Kevin Durant
  3. Rajon Rondo

Last season, my “Best Three Players on the Planet” were

  1. Kobe Bryant
  2. LeBron James
  3. Dwyane Wade

That’s a radical swing. And it’s with all due respect to Wade, Bryant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, or anyone else you want to throw in the running (although Love and Howard were really tough cuts).

Let’s get two things straight: Wade is a future Hall of Famer and a great player; Wade is a better fit for the Heat than Rondo. There’s no disputing either of those. They are facts.

Right now, however, Rondo is the better player. He was the better player during last season’s playoffs, he will be the better player in a month, a year, or even three years from now. He’s even better than Bryant.

There’s been a takeover in the NBA. Or maybe I’m late to the party. Anyway…

In my “Best Three Players on the Planet” list, I always give deference to titles. Championships are the calling cards of the great ones. It’s always been that way. It will always be that way.

And I look for all-around players – offense, defense, free throws, passing, leadership, durability, ability to perform down the stretch of close games, ability to perform in big games, overall playmaking. There’s no formula. Those are just the primary things I consider.

LeBron has a title. No one disputes his spot.

Durant doesn’t have a title and isn’t as complete defensively as Bryant or Wade. But the guy is good. Really good. He’s a leader. He’s a shot-maker. He plays big in big games. He makes big plays. And he’s a willing defender. He’s got amazing all-around skills. He’s on the list.

Rondo has a title, and he’s as much of an all-around player as you’ll find in the NBA. He’s a four-time All-Defensive Team pick. You know about the triple-doubles, his vision and the outstanding playoff performances. Of course, he is a bad free throw shooter (.618 career) and has no jumper.

Why does he ascend above Wade and Bryant this season?


  1. Dixy says

    Now that is just plain stupid. I’m not even sure that Rondo is in the top ten players in the NBA, let alone top three. Was the article written for controversy?

  2. Keith says

    Rondo? Seriously? He’s not even the best point guard; it’s arguable he’s in the top 3 at his position. Ridiculous comment.

  3. Arky says

    Rondo is a great pass-first point guard but his limited offence weakens him. He gets a lot of triple doubles because the Celtics’ system leaves a lot of rebounds for him (the Celtics being a lousy rebounding team generally, boxing out for the point guard makes as much sense as anything) and he gets a lot of assists because the Celtics’ offensive sets are very, very heavy on plays where guys catch Rondo passes and shoot due to the limitations of their other players on offense. Rondo is a brillant passer, don’t get me wrong, but the Celtics system inflates his numbers. Guards often create offense without getting a stat because there’s a 2nd pass after the point guard made the play and distorted the defence, but that happens to Rondo less than most. He’s not a better creator than Chris Paul no matter what the assist totals say (part of that is also simply that Paul’s offensive abilities draw more defensive attention towards him and away from his teammates).

  4. Brian says

    Kobe from last year was the best player to you? What? How could anyone arrive at that?

    And for the sake of echoing the other commenter’s, Rondo is amazing. Rondo is not better than Chris Paul. Championships are team awards, and not a great indicator of individual success.

  5. Josh says

    Rondo over Chris Paul?? Come on. Rondo is extremely talented but one step away from Bynum/World Peace type of crazy.


    No if, ands or buts.

  6. arunisay says

    I don’t agree with this “title” vs “no title” thing. When Rondo won the championship, he was the clear fourth banana on that team. One could argue that his role was not integral. Besides, he is not a complete player. Horrible and reluctant shooter and I suspect he is a stat hound. I have Rondo top 10 definitely. If he can improve these other aspects in his game, then he belongs in a top 5 conversation. Right now, I would have it LBJ, Durant, CP3.

  7. RCR says

    Kobe’s leading the league in scoring and shooting 50/40/90 so far this season. He may be old, a step slower, and not jumping out of the building, but he’s looking like the 96-98 Jordan right now. Footwork, skills, knowledge of the game, and smarts just off the charts better than anyone else right now.

    It’s still James, Durant, Kobe, at least right now.

  8. Zachary Knutson says

    This makes very little sense. First, Kobe and Wade have almost unanimously been outside the top three for more than a year. Secondly, you discredit Chris Paul entirely on the fact that he doesn’t have a title but then include Durant with zero reasoning.

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