Everybody agrees that the Monta Ellis experiment has been an unquestionable success so far. His offensive game seems to mesh with Dirk's perfectly, he ranks #7 in the league in scoring and unlike the past few years he's been extremely efficient - shooting 49.6% instead of last year's 41.6%. He's silenced us doubters and haters with his quality play and forced the media from Grantland to Deadspin to reexamine the environmental reasons for inefficient play. He's arguably the best shooting guard in the league - shooting 5 percentile points more efficiently than the only SG scoring more points than him (James Harden). Even his 3-point percentage has been completely acceptable at 35.9%.
So one would have to be crazy to want to turn around and trade him, right? The thing is, his stock is very high right now but his shortcomings will keep him from being a dependable #1 option on a championship team. We have been rumored to have interest in Rajon Rondo, and I think this is a trade worth doing if possible for a lot of reasons.
1.) While Monta is a brilliant scorer, he's a one way player and defense is a major problem. Rondo might be one of the best two-way players in the league and is arguably the best point guard defender in the league. He also has averaged a double-double for years, and has been a league leader in assists and is one of the best PG rebounders. He has also made the defensive 1st or 2nd team for years now.
2.) Rondo's a career 48.1% shooter, which means his average year would be an above-average shooting year for Monta by about three percentile points. Like Calderon, he's usually not a shoot-first/heroball player but he's also shown that he can take over when he needs to. People unimpressed by his 11.1 ppg career average should remember that he's been playing with three Hall of Famers most of those years and hasn't needed to be a big scorer. Harden averaged 12.7ppg in OKC and many questioned if he could be the main scorer too, so context is important when comparing his scoring numbers to Monta's.
3.) Rondo has proven himself to be a legitimate #1 option on a championship team, even if he's not the dominant scorer on the team. He facilitates offenses perfectly, locks down on defense, holds teammates accountable for their shortcomings and became the alpha dog on a team full of HoFers and big egos. He's got the Kobe/Jordan mindset that might bruise egos in the locker room but also that can result in winning rings.
4.) Monta has historically underperformed when he has made the playoffs (which is rare in and of itself). He averages 19.6 ppg during the season and only 9.7 ppg during his two playoff appearances (15 games). Rondo, on the other hand, outperforms during the playoffs. He ran a championship team in his rookie year. His 11.1 scoring average jumps to 14.3 ppg in the playoffs. In 2008-09, he was on the verge of averaging a triple double over 14 games: 16.9 points, 9.8 assists, 9.7 rebounds! In 2011-12, he averaged 17.3 points, 11.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds over 19 games. And who can forget the 44 point, 10 assist, 8 rebound performance unmatched in NBA playoff history vs. Miami? If we want Dirk to win another ring, Rondo is one of the best players besides Lebron himself to get us there.
Some will say we should try to keep Ellis and trade anyone else, but Ellis and Rondo would not fit together. They both rely on a driving-heavy game, are prone to turnovers and are bad outside shooters. I would rather keep Calderon, whose game is the opposite - quality outside-shooting and few turnovers - and move him to shooting guard. He's one of the best three point shooters in the league, and Rondo-Calderon would be an unmatched BBIQ backcourt. Rondo would cancel out Calderon's weak defense instead of exacerbating it like Monta does.
If Boston was willing to play ball, I think we have to pull the trigger. If we could keep Larkin even better, but I don't know if Boston would trade for Ellis straight up. I think Larkin and Ellis is a fair package for their franchise player.
Note: I would NOT do this trade until I see Rondo back at full health.