Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams

  • Andy Flint

I’ve read so much speculation as of late concerning who is the NBA’s best point guard. The names generally associated with this topic are Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker.

Sure, you could begin make a case for guys like Kyle Lowry, John Wall and heck, even  young fellas like Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio (R.I.P, Rubio’s ACL) have started to break onto the scene.

Give me Deron Williams and Chris Paul. The battle to settle it all. I feel that these two are as good as it gets when you’re talking about NBA point guards. In terms of GREAT passers, who see the floor well and can mix in some scoring, I feel like guys such as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook can’t quite cut it.

Your point guard is the guy you want setting up the offense, running the floor, hitting the open shooters and controlling the tempo of the game. Guys like Rose and Westbrook are tremendous talents, and are clearly changing the way the point guard position is being played, but in my humble opinion, guys like Rose and Westbrook can’t be considered to be better than guys like Paul and D-Will. Paul and Williams can both score and make their team better. Rose and Westbrook are shooting guards who happen to be under 6’5.

Anyway, enough with my justification of why I’ve picked who I’ve picked. On to the main event: Deron Williams vs. Chris Paul.

Scoring is something a team must have. The volume at which a guy can score is the obvious difference between an average player and a great player. Now, that doesn’t mean that scoring 35 a game on 17 of 46 shooting is ever the answer. In the case of a point guard, often times less (scoring) is actually more. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are guys who have the ability to pour it on, but their game isn’t limited to 30 point outings with little else to show for it.

But here we’re talking about the pure ability to score. Both of these guys can fill the cup in many different ways. While Chris Paul utilizes a quick first step and cross-over to get to the rim or his instinct to drill a well-timed jumper from mid-range. Deron Williams can score in completely different ways. D-Will is an exceptionally gifted post-player for his height. He has great body size for a guy standing 6’3. He can also wet the trey with ease.

I think both of these players can turn it on when needed. I feel like Deron Williams is just the better equipped volume scorer and Chris Paul is the more efficient scorer.

Key: ppg= points per game, FG%= field goal percentage, 3P%= percentage of three-point shots made, FT%= free throw percentage

Deron Williams:
Career- 17.6 ppg, .458 FG%, .355 3P%, .813 FT%
2011-12 season- 22.0 ppg, .416 FG%, .356 3P%, .856 FT%

Chris Paul:
Career- 18.8 ppg, .473 FG%, .366 3P%, .854 FT%
2011-12 season- 20.2 ppg, .495 FG%, .427 3P%, .865 FT%

These guys can both get at it on the offensive end. The fact is.. Williams scares me more if I’m a defender.

Advantage– Deron Williams

Passing is, like I said up top, the stat that really sets players like Paul and Williams apart from the rest of the league. You have guys like Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo who are no strangers to “Passing the Pill”, but they lack the scoring ability of D-Will and CP3. These two both have averages within sniffing range of double-digit assists per game for their careers. Deron comes in at 9.1 apg, while Chris Paul manages 9.8 apg.

Please don’t be fooled into thinking the passing game is all about the numbers. I’m sure somebody will be quick to point out the fact that Derrick Rose averages 6.8 assists for his career and 8.0 on the season. So with that being said, it’s often the way in which these dimes are earned. Rose is strictly a “blaze to the rim” and kick-it-out-if-need-be type of passer. You won’t see him threading the needle like Williams and Paul, or setting up the fast break with the ease that these pure-passers do.

The thing that grabs me when I watch Deron and Chris play the position is the flow and the way that they make it seem as if the game moves very slowly for them. It’s like their anticipation and instincts guide their game. The way they move down the court effortlessly and stick the rock to the open guy that the rest of us didn’t even see was open. It’s like a sixth sense that not many players have.

I will say that with plenty of game reel featuring both CP3 and D-Will stored in my brain, that Chris Paul stands out in my mind as the superior passer. It’s not by a long-shot or anything. It’s a pretty close race. But, I do feel that CP3 is the next best thing to Steve Nash in terms of passing.

Advantage– Chris Paul

The last part of this will be based on defense. I feel like both of these players can get the job done, but Chris Paul is an absolute nightmare on the defensive end, as where Deron Williams is the type of player that only gives 110% on every other play. That’s not to say that Williams can’t or doesn’t play defense. I just feel that it’s more of an elective process for him. Chris Paul makes on-the-ball defense a priority every possession. He has extremely quick hands and isn’t afraid to get dirty. Williams barely managed a steal per game for his career, while Paul flirts with 2.5 for his.

It’s a pretty easy decision here.

Advantage– Chris Paul

Overall, this battle is so painfully close that it’s really a hard thing for me to crown either of they great ballers. But I do have to declare one of these guards as “king of the court”.

Winner– Chris Paul (by less than any versus article that I’ve ever done)

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