Hello everyone, hope you’ve all had a nice week. Last week, if you all recall, I did a comparison of Amare Stoudamire and Chris Bosh. It was a hit with you all and you loved it, so I’ve decided to make comparing players a weekly mainstay of my blog.
Last week, my cousin and closest friend Joseph Reeder (@Got_Jody on twitter) through some player names at me for this weeks comparison. Those names were Chris Paul and Deron Williams or Dirk Nowitzki and Zach Randolph. I asked you all to vote for which ones you wanted to see and Chris Paul and Derron Williams won 16 to 4. Hopefully next time I can get more votes out of you all, however, if you wanted to see Z Bo and Dirk that comparison will be up next week.
Now, lets get started.
The point guard position is a position that, when played to its full extent, will effect everyone on the floor. A good, or a better word choice would be true, point guard will get his teammates going first then score the ball. The great point are the ones with elite passing skill sets, unique vision, and the ability to score the ball. Now there are exceptions to this rule at times, i.e a Rajon Rondo or a Jason Kidd, however, if you can do all of these things consistently you’ll undoubtedly be one of the true superstars of the NBA.
You look at guys like Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Gary Payton, John Stockton, and the list goes on. They were great point guards because they knew how to set their teammates up. The only person on the list I just gave that was shot first was Isiah Thomas, but even he knew he had to set teammates up. As he progressed in his career he started taking less and less shots, but doing more for his team. That’s what point guards are supposed to do. They run the show wherever they are at. They’re the floor generals, sometimes considered coaches on the floor. That’s why point guards are one of the most valuable assets on the floor.
Now that brings me to today. There are a handful of good, and potentially great point guards in the league. You have guys like the leagues MVP, Derrick Rose. You have Russell Westbrook, and Rajon Rondo who have room to improve, but are still pivotal players today. You have seasoned vets like Steve Nash and Jason Kidd. You’ve even got raw talent like John Wall, Steph Curry, and Brandon Jennings. Possibly even rookie guard Kyrie Irving.
But then, you have the best of the best. Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Many people consider them the best point guards in the league. I find it somewhat debatble that Rondo isn’t on that list in many peoples eyes, but I’ll ride with it today. Yes, I’m saying I think Rajon is a top 2 point in the NBA, but I look at it from a pure point standpoint and I look past his shooting issues. That’s a different post for a different day, so lets continue.
Many people see them on two even levels. Many people, for the years from 2007 to 2009, thought that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the league. However, in 2009 he went down with knee troubles. Then the picture started getting bigger, Deron Williams got hot, and he took the thrown as “the best” in the eyes of many. These two were drafted very closely together in the 2005 draft. Williams went 3rd, the Hornets were ecstatic they got their guy; Paul went 4th. They were forever tied together at that point.
After that monster playoff series Chris Paul played in Los Angeles many people have dubbed him better than Deron Williams. However, when it comes down to it, they’re pretty even in a lot of things. Single games can’t decide all of a man’s six year career right, but only influence it, right? Let’s not place all of our chips in one basket and be biased about it.
Lets start off with their scoring numbers. That is one of the most important roles of a point guard. Can they fill it up? When their teammates can’t get it going, can they provide the spark that they need in points? Let me tell you, both of these guys can. Most people probably don’t look into it and think Williams is the better scorer, Chris Paul can fill it up just as easily, if not better, than Williams. For their career, Paul is averaging 18.7 points while Williams is averaging 17.2. Williams has only averaged over 20 points once in his career, while Paul has done that twice.
Williams averaged 20 points a game this season to Chris Paul’s 15 so he had the edge in scoring this season. With that being said, the after the move to NJ, Williams only averaged 15 points a game. I think that was because of his nagging wrist injury. He also shot about 35 percent from the field in New Jersey so you could tell that the wrist was affecting him more than he let on. Paul averaged 11 shots per game this season to Williams’ 15 shots per game. Chris Paul had a tendency this season to pass more often than score, even when his teammates couldn’t get it going. Sometimes that was to the detriment of his team. What does amaze me, however, is how Chris Paul only gets 3% of his shots blocked to Deron’s 8% Is Chris Paul more crafty on the inside than Williams, even though Williams has more size? He did finish better at the rim than Williams shooting 61%.
Even with that as a fact, I’d have to give the scoring edge to Deron Williams. Paul, too often, was conservative while playing on a team with very few options scoring outside of David West and himself. I wouldn’t want that in my point guard. He shot a better percentage, but that’s because he took way less shots than Williams. I think that if Paul was more aggressive, then he’d have way more than 9.8 assists too. Scoring would definitley open it up for his teammates.
Lets get into the aspect of setting others up. Last season, as I said in the previous paragraph, Paul only averaged 9.8 assists which is a pretty high number, but low for him. Paul could’ve averaged way more if he had been more aggressive scoring the ball. I’m not sure if he was hampered by injury or just tried too hard to change his style of play. Either way, it hurt his numbers this season. They say it takes 2 years to come back from knee surgery, maybe this is the case with Paul. Williams, on the other hand, averaged 10.3 assists a game this season. He averaged 9.7 with the Jazz, but got to NJ and lit it up with 12.8. Their assist percentage was even from last year at 46. That’s the percentage of shots that they assist on for their team for those of you who don’t follow advanced stats. Williams had the higher turnover percentage though. That would be the amount of possessions per 100 that you turn the ball over in. Williams turned it over 17 percent to Pauls 13 percent. While both being pretty great, those 4 percentage points can mean a lot.
They’re both pretty close in skill when it comes to passing. I’ll give the edge to Paul this time though because he turns the ball over less. I’d rather have more of my possessions end in an assist than in a turnover. Paul barley has the edge, but I’ve gotta give it to him.
Now, lets look at their defensive and rebounding skills. Paul rebound 7 percent of his team’s shots to William’s 6 percent. They both have pretty low percentages, but for Williams size I expect him to be a much better rebounder and defender. They say that Williams can defend multiple positions because of his size, but I disagree. Williams allowed 112 points per 100 possessions last season to Chris Paul’s 103. Added to that Chris Paul got his team 122 points per 100 possessions to Williams 114. That’s amazing for Paul at his size. He also did all of that with a lower usage rating than Williams. Williams only got 1.25 steals last season to Chris Paul’s 2.34. Its obvious that Paul has the better defensive ability and wins out in this category.
They both have an injury history, but Williams just got hurt signiicantly for the first time this season. It’s seemed to me that Paul has had knee injury problems with his legs for his whole career. Its a wait and see thing with Williams wrist but I’d have to give the injury edge to him.
Another thing I’d like to throw out there is that Williams has beaten Paul so many times head to head. Out of the 16 games they’ve played Paul is 4 and 12 against Williams. He isn’t outperformed per say, but his team isn’t always as good as Williams’ have been. He does only shoot 41% when playing against Deron. Its because of Deron’s height bothering him, I believe, and him having to carry the team so often.
Paul has the better playoff numbers and has more post season success than Williams. Paul has always performed under bright lights and Williams hasn’t seen enough of the spotlight to even know what he is capable of under it. They’ve both been pretty good in the playoffs but Paul has had more opportunities than Williams.
If it came down to it, I’d take Chris Paul any day. Not saying that Williams isn’t a great guard in his own right, but Paul is just all around better. He is a better passer, he has better vision and turns it over less. They shoot the same, but Paul is a better defender. Paul also lead his New Orleans Hornets to the being the best team in the clutch this season. Look the numbers up, when the games were in the last 2 minutes, the Hornets have always been one of the most efficient teams. That’s because of their guy, Chris Paul. He doesn’t always take the last shot, but he’ll always make the right pass and the right basketball play. I can’t say exactly the same for Williams.
Don’t let my opinion influence you though, let me know yours. Who’s better, Paul or Williams. Who do you want on your team?