Just before Rajon Rondo  “slightly” sprained his ankle against the Jazz , the Celtics  point guard stretched his string of double-digit assists to 32 games. Only John Stockton  (37) and Magic Johnson  (46) own longer streaks.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin played his entire 16-year NBA career either with or against Stockton, including three seasons as his Jazz teammate from 1991-94. In 1992, Stockton recorded another stretch of 29 straight games with 10-plus assists, which Rondo recently eclipsed, so Corbin knows first-hand what that does for a team.
“[Rondo]’s a great player, a great competitive player,” Corbin said. “He’s doing a great job. He’s a big asset for this team. He reads his team well; he makes the right plays for them. Any time you get a guy that makes double-figure assists every night for you, that’s a great honor and you’ve got a chance to win games as a result, because you know he’s going to be able to get the ball to the right guys and spread it out well, so he’s a tremendous player.”
Asked if he sees similarities between Rondo and Stockton, Corbin made it clear: “They’re two different players.” But how different are Rondo and Stockton? Here are their numbers through their first six NBA seasons.
- Rondo (2006-12): 10.9 PTS (48.1 FG%, 24.3 3P%, 61.8 FT%), 8.1 AST, 4.5 REB, 2.7 TO, 1.9 STL
- Stockton (1984-90): 11.7 PTS (52.4 FG%, 31.5 3P%, 82.2 FT%), 10.4 AST, 2.7 TO, 2.4 STL, 2.3 REB
While Rondo has led the league in assists and steals per game once apiece, Stockton already owned three assist titles and one steals crown through the first six seasons of his Hall of Fame career. And the biggest difference? Stockton missed just four games in that span; Rondo missed 39. Stockton also benefited from four collegiate seasons while Rondo played only two. So, we might be better served looking at their statistics at age 26.
- Rondo (2012-13): 14.3 PTS (51.0 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 55.9 FT%), 12.5 AST, 4.9 REB, 3.1 TO, 2.1 STL
- Stockton (1998-89): 17.1 PTS (53.8 FG%, 24.2 3P%, 86.3 FT%), 13.6 AST, 3.9 REB, 3.8 TO, 3.2 STL
Interestingly, Stockton didn’t shoot better than 40 percent from 3-point range until age 27, and then reached that plateau seven times. Also, the legendary Jazz point guard’s streak of 37 consecutive games with 10 or more assists started during that 1998-99 season, so maybe they’re not all that different after all.