Better duo: Brooklyn or Boston?

Deron Williams and Brook Lopez form a powerful small-big combo for the new-look Nets. Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

It seems like throughout the NBA, we're seeing a changing of the guard, from upstart teams trying to get a foothold to young players on the brink of making a name. But still there's the ever-present old guard that dots championship contenders throughout the basketball landscape.

The Brooklyn Nets fall somewhere in the middle. With shiny new digs, burgeoning neighborhood pride and an eye on joining the upper echelon, the team in that other borough is on the move. And the players who will likely get them there are inside-out duo Deron Williams and Brook Lopez.

But just how good are they? For a quality measuring stick, look no further than their Atlantic Division foes in Boston. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo make up one of the most effective duos in basketball. However, the Nets appear to be on the rise while the Celtics might be losing steam.

Let's take a look at who's better in this player-by-player and duo breakdown.

Rajon Rondo versus Deron Williams

Two of the NBA's very best have distinctly different styles. Rondo is a more snug fit in the traditional point guard mold, as his primary function is to distribute the basketball. Right now no one is doing that better than the Celtics' speedy floor leader. His 13.7 assists per game are tops in the league, and he's on a historic pace: On Nov. 25, Rondo became the second player in NBA history to notch double figures in assists in 37 consecutive games.