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Awards Watch: Rondo climbing

In the latest update of ESPN's NBA Awards Watch, Rajon Rondo climbs to No. 4 on the list of potential Defensive Player of the Year candidates.

Writes Maurice Brooks: "It is easy to peg Rondo as a defender who simply jumps passing lanes, but he shuts down opposing point guards as well as anyone."

Rondo climbed one spot this week, while Paul Pierce sits tight at eighth on the MVP watch. Brook's blurb on Pierce; "He recently went over 19,000 points for his career. You could make a case that Rajon Rondo is Boston's most important player, but PP is the team's most consistent player."

Our take? The Celtics have been so balanced on this winning streak, it's hard to imagine any of the starting 5 will get serious MVP consideration (though Pierce certainly carried the team early in the season).

Maybe we're undervaluing Kendrick Perkins' play in past seasons, but we certainly think he should be in the mix for the most improved player. As we noted in a post Tuesday, Perkins is averaging double his career scoring average (12 points) this season and leads the NBA in field-goal percentage (64.9 percent).

If Rasheed Wallace continues to balance his inside-outside game like he has in recent contests, we wouldn't be surprised to see him climb onto the Sixth Man watch.