The NBA finally recognizes Rajon Rondo on MVP candidates list

I believe this is the first time this season that Rondo has been listed among the top 10 MVP candidates by Today he got recognized by's Sekou Smith as "the best player on the hottest team in the league since the All-Star break."

Although he is only ranked #9 on the list, it's nice to see Rondo finally getting some credit for his efforts after all the bashing he has received as well as the trade rumors of early March.

The best player on the hottest team in the league since the All-Star break is not LeBron James or Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant or Kevin Love.

With all respect to those other MVP candidates, the honor belongs to Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, whose MVP campaign from earlier this season was derailed by injuries and a Celtics' swoon. But Rondo and the Celtics have come on since the break -- 15-7 since All-Star Weekend in Orlando -- and have plenty of teams in the Eastern Conference fearing for their playoff lives.

No team in the East can boast more championship experience on its roster, and the Lakers and Spurs are the only teams in the league capable of matching the Celtics in that department.

The true beauty of Rondo's surge, and in turn the Celtics' post-All-Star rise, has been the unselfishness of their All-Star floor leader. Rondo's assists have spiked since the break (9.5 before and 12.6 since) while his points have taken a sizeable dip (14.8 before and 10.0 since).

Rondo averaged 13 assists in March, when the Celtics went 12-5, and has piled up double-digit assists in all but two games since the break. He is sitting on a stretch that has seen him tally 10 or more assists in 15 straight games.

According to Elias, Rondo is the first player in the Celtics' storied history to accomplish that feat. The last player in the NBA to record at least 14 straight 10-assist games was the Suns' Steve Nash, who totaled 14 in a row in 2004-05.

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