Featured Gallery, NBA / Nov 24, 2010 / 9:30 am

Who’s Better: Deron Williams or Chris Paul?

Deron Williams (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

We argue. You decide.

DERON WILLIAMS
There is this perception that Deron Williams was always playing catch-up to Chris Paul. The truth is that Williams has been the best point guard in the world for a while.

Paul may have his Hornets sitting at a surprising 11-2. But who can forget what Williams did these past few weeks? He played 53 minutes and beat the Clippers with a tie-breaking layup. Then, he led a charge back from 22 down to punk the Heat in Miami. One night later, Williams went off for 30 and 14 in a win against the Magic, followed later that week by another second-half comeback in Charlotte, capped by his game-winning hook shot.

In head-to-head meetings over the course of their careers, Williams has gotten the better of Paul in every major statistical category. He has also shot 56% from the field against Paul, his highest versus any team.

Defensively, most will look at Paul’s career theft numbers (2.4 steals per game), and say he is stronger on this end. But Paul is disruptive in much the same way Allen Iverson was: by playing passing lanes and generally taking too many chances. Williams, on the other hand, is 6-3 and weighs anywhere from 210 to 220. Because of his size, he can play any type of guard without help and without cheating for steals.

Also, over the course of his career, Williams has missed just 24 out of 425 regular season games. With his frenetic style of play, Paul has worn down more than a few times. Last season, a knee injury limited him to only 45 games. Paul has missed close to three times as many games in his career as Williams.

Finally, as the “leader” of a team’s on-court performance, what is most often described as a point guard’s most important quality? The ability to make their teammates better. And win. I’m sure you may have heard, but in head-to-head match-ups over the course of their career, Williams has destroyed Paul. In 18 career games against the Hornets with Williams running the show, the Jazz are 14-4. That’s not some stat put together over a small sample size. That is five years of basketball, with different players and situations. I don’t even really need to mention that when they met in college, Williams’ Illinois team spanked Paul and his Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Williams has led Utah to the playoffs every year since his rookie season and has been to the Western Conference Finals. Paul has only one career playoff series win under his belt.

John Hollinger will have you believe that Paul put up two of the greatest seasons as a point guard in League history. He can have that acclaim because Williams is considered the better crunch-time player, has a more complete game, is more durable, has had more team success and in head-to-head meetings, he dominates CP both individually and in the win column. Plus, he has a better hair game. OK, that last one was a joke, but you get my point.
-SEAN SWEENEY

Chris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

CHRIS PAUL
Dominance. It has been a staple of Chris Paul’s basketball career ever since his high school days. No matter where he is, his team’s play is automatically lifted when he is on the court.

As we saw in the 2009-10 season, the Hornets were able to go 23-22 with an injured Paul playing. When Paul was on the sidelines, the Hornets went 14-23.

But let’s not dwell on the past. What Chris Paul is doing right now is even more incredible. With quality wins over the Nuggets, Spurs, Trail Blazers, Mavericks and Heat, the Hornets are no fluke at 11-2. Considering that the additions of Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli were their most significant, this just proves that Chris Paul can carry a team unlike any point guard in the NBA.

And he’s done the carrying while being efficient. According to John Hollinger’s PER (Player Efficiency Rating), Paul is the second most efficient player in the league at a 27.37 rating. Deron Williams, unfortunately, is 30 spots behind Paul with a 20.36 rating, which isn’t too shabby either.

In fact, Williams has had quite an impressive season as well. Dime’s Austin Burton made an argument for him to be ahead for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award race. While he does have some good points, there is one thing that really separates Paul from Williams: His ability to make players around him better.

Take a look at Tyson Chandler. His best years were in New Orleans. Chris Paul not only threw him a great amount of alley-oop passes, but he forced Chandler to perform well defensively since Paul took care of the offense. The same could be said for Emeka Okafor and David West. Okafor is averaging a career-best 2.5 blocks per game this year and West is quietly playing like an All-Star again.

This separation factor makes a huge difference. While Williams is a great distributor, he doesn’t make his teammates better like Paul. Williams is capable of taking over the game in the waning minutes (something he’s done all year long), but eventually that will catch up to the Jazz if they become too reliant on him. This wouldn’t happen with the Hornets, since Paul knows how to keep the scoring balanced.

Between his efficient scoring and his ability to make players around him better, Chris Paul takes the cake for the League’s best point guard and possibly the league’s best leader.
- LUCAS SHAPIRO

Who do you think is better?

-Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney
-Follow Lucas on Twitter at @LucasTHENBAMan
-Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag
-Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • http://youtube.com/bballbreakdown Coach Nick

    This is a great debate. We’ve been having it over at BBALLBREAKDOWN but we’ve also included Rajon Rondo as well. We will be doing a big episode highlighting all the great PG’s in the league and let you decide who’s the best.
    At BBALLBREAKDOWN, we let you feel what it’s like to sit in on an NBA coach’s film session.

  • http://youtube.com/bballbreakdown Coach Nick

    This is a great debate. We’ve been having it over at BBALLBREAKDOWN but we’ve also included Rajon Rondo as well. We will be doing a big episode highlighting all the great PG’s in the league and let you decide who’s the best.
    At BBALLBREAKDOWN, we let you feel what it’s like to sit in on an NBA coach’s film session.

  • nobs6669

    being at the right system sure are the best point guard but when you switch their places for sure they will be just an above average guard

  • nisizzle

    i gotta say deron williams man. he can do it all, plus what shows leadership more than actually leading the comebacks and hitting the game winners. chris paul is playing the least minutes hes ever played in his career this season and his hornets have one of the best records in the league. and the tyson chandler example, he just needs a pointgaurd who can throw him the dimes, look at what hes doin in dallas right now with kidd. Oh yea, and the head to head stats dont lie either. Williams > Paul

  • john

    Deron Williams. He’s basically a bigger and stronger version of CP3.

  • ctkennedy

    i would take deron williams simply because williams is a better halfcourt player…which it is harder to score when the d is set …paul has moments of takin the air out the ball ala a shorter version of lebron james

  • KB24fan

    deron williams has the best pf for about 2 years he has been he always take his teams farther in the playoffs and he does make his temmates better chris paul couldnt play with paul milsap but d-will could play with david west

  • Josh

    i have too say paul

    williams always had the better team maybe until this year and look the records shows it paul has more wins and if williams hadn´t bailed them out a couple of times it wouldve been crisis-time williams is doing what paul had to do his whole career until now and in some ways he still doing it bail out his team

    they both great players but paul is just better plus if garnett had a head to head against duncan he would probably win faster bigger stronger then duncan
    but who of all you fools would say garnet is better then duncan

    and i didnt even talk about the stats cause i dont need too beacuse paul has way better stats and percentage then williams in every category and paul plays in a slower system then deron

  • Danny

    Dominance? What or whom exactly Paul dominated?

  • Sporty-j

    BIGGER IS BETTER=DERON WILLIAMS

  • RapTOr

    To me they are pretty much equally matched save for the following characteristics:

    Better court vision and play making ability goes to Paul, but not by much.

    Better pure scoring ability goes to Deron, but again, not by much.

    In the end, and especially in a tight case like this, everything falls back to relativism and what you in particular would prefer. Personally, I would take a playmaker over a scorer for a pg if it were my team. Theoretically, I would already have guys on the court who are being paid to score. I want someone who can understandhow to get them in the best positions possible to do that.

  • the_don_mega

    @Josh

    “they both great players but paul is just better plus if garnett had a head to head against duncan he would probably win faster bigger stronger then duncan
    but who of all you fools would say garnet is better then duncan”

    huh?

  • gilford

    “Okafor is averaging a career-best 2.5 blocks per game this year”

    So Chris Paul is letting his man to penetrate to the lane just to help Okafor get his blocks? How does that even relate to Okafor in making him a better player?

  • igetmoney01

    rajon rondo better then both of um

  • Josh

    i mean with head to head everybody always talking about that williams always destroys paul head to head because he is bigger stronger and so on

    i mean garnett had better numbers against duncan but that doenst mean he is better then duncan

  • http://facebook.com/togstadlives Big Freeze

    “nobs6669 says:

    being at the right system sure are the best point guard but when you switch their places for sure they will be just an above average guard”

    It’s safe to say that wherever these PG’s go, they will be anything but “average.” It sounds ignorant saying Deron and Paul are just products of a system. If that’s the case, then every PG is just a product of their system.

    And I never understand these kinds of debates. Why can’t both players be great in their own right? No. It always has to be CP3 v D-Will, Lebron v Kobe, Kobe v MJ, etc. Arguing about it is a waste of time, fam. They’re all pretty damn good!

  • Crew Dizzy

    The same debate was posed over the summer, and my answer remains the same, Deron Williams.

  • QQ

    A debate that will not be decided in a single article. It is, in fact, one of the great matchups of this decade.

    On the other hand, who’s better NOW?

    Still a difficult one, but I’ll say Chris Paul, by a very slim margin. He leads a team predicted by many to be quite shitty to a 12-2 record, while making all his teammates look like studs.

    That’s the main argument. Deron’s team made the playoffs last year, and is predicted by many to be playoff lock this season, too, so they’re doing quite good supporting those expectations.

    On the other hand, Paul’s team was that stereotypical ‘shitty to mediocre’ team in season previews, yet they have a BETTER record than Deron’s team.

    That settles it……. FOR NOW.

  • nizzio

    Deron Williams is better. Not only is he stronger and bigger, he also plays better defense and he makes his teammates better as well. If I remember correctly, Boozer wasn’t an all-star until D-Will came in.

  • ricky rosss

    nice article. id pick paul over dwills

  • Chaotic Pirate

    Williams. Easily. You can’t be the best PG in the league if you’re dirty. *Cough* Paul.

  • CTP

    Deron Williams.

    The boys over at SLC Dunk said it best; to be the best player at your position, doesn’t that mean you have to dominate every other player at your position? Chris Paul gets beat every time.. You don’t see Kobe getting beat by other 2′s.

    D Will is a better shooter, passer, rebounder and much more clutch.. And he is a winner. CP3 has more endorsements, because he doesnt play in Utah, so of course lots of less savvy basketball fans like CP3….

  • control

    Williams is better than Paul. Guy is bigger, stronger, just as quick (but not as fast) and a lot more consistent and dominate. I’m not sure if playing with Jerry Sloan as coach is a plus or neg to Williams though. Deron has had to conform his game to Sloan’s system, where as most point guards get to free style a little bit more than him. It’s good that he can change his game to match the system, but it’s hard to see if it makes him a better or worse player statistically…who knows, if Deron had a more free style system, he could be even better (but maybe achieve less team success).

    Really funny how long it took to mention other pgs who don’t belong in this conversation, only one post…

  • Pugz

    CP3 all day, you guys gota stop looking at stats.

  • CTP

    @pugz

    What should we look at then? Wins and losses? Derons got him there. Game winners? Derons got him there.

  • Duke

    It always bothers me whenever people say Chris Paul is a good defender.

  • Manu14

    TONY PARKER constantly outplay BOTH of them!!!
    I’d rather have TP9 in may team, he’s the best scoring PG ever and an underated passer (with Ginobili and Duncan the total assist is splitt in 3…)

  • Mike “Yahoo! Exclusive” Mihalow

    Chris Paul has a better whiny face. It was “NBA Player X” who said CP once cussed a ref for a no-call, and got no tech, but actually rewarded with a foul call on the very next play. That’s one powerful whiny face.

  • j

    This is just ridiculous. You can’t just say whatever you want just because you like a guy. Deron is bigger and stronger, true. But a better rebounder? Name one year where he had more rebounds than Paul over the course of the entire year? Better shooter? Paul has shot better than him from 3 the past 2 years. Better scorer? This is the first year that Deron has scored more points per game than Paul.

    And a better defender… nope keep dreaming. Deron is slower, with fewer steals and a worse team and individual defender.

    Also, this whole “domination” thing has gone too far. The last year Paul was healthy, 08-09, he averaged 23 and 9, and last year, in just one game, he was 12 and 9, those are fantastic numbers. The head to head matchup are predicated on Williams having played on a better team for the past few years, that’s it, simple. Better passer? um except he has averaged fewer assists with more turnovers. Blame the system? Yeah…Deron plays in the same system in which Stockton broke the record for assists, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? it is a fantastic system for pg’s to rack up assists, but he still doesnt average as many as Paul. Why because he isn’t as good.

    As for matchups, do you hear anyone saying they would prefer Paul Pierce to Lebron…no, even though they beat them the past 2 times they have played in playoff series.

    The difference isn’t close, Paul is better, by far.

  • j

    Ahh, the debate that isn’t a real debate. This is just ridiculous. You can’t just say whatever you want just because you like a guy. Deron is bigger and stronger, true. But a better rebounder? Name one year where he had more rebounds than Paul over the course of the entire year? Better shooter? Paul has shot better than him from 3 the past 2 years. Better scorer? This is the first year that Deron has scored more points per game than Paul.

    And a better defender… nope keep dreaming. Deron is slower, with fewer steals and a worse team and individual defender.

    Also, this whole “domination” thing has gone too far. The last year Paul was healthy, 08-09, he averaged 23 and 9, and last year, in just one game, he was 12 and 9, those are fantastic numbers. The head to head matchup are predicated on Williams having played on a better team for the past few years, that’s it, simple. Better passer? um except he has averaged fewer assists with more turnovers. Blame the system? Yeah…Deron plays in the same system in which Stockton broke the record for assists, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? it is a fantastic system for pg’s to rack up assists, but he still doesnt average as many as Paul. Why because he isn’t as good.

    As for matchups, do you hear anyone saying they would prefer Paul Pierce to Lebron…no, even though they beat them the past 2 times they have played in playoff series.

    The difference isn’t close, Paul is better, by far.

  • j

    Oh what the heck does pure score mean? It must not mean your ability to score more points, more efficiently, because that’s what Paul does.

    And yes Deron is clutch, but that doesn’t mean that Paul isn’t clutch. He’s had plenty of game winning shots and pin point last second passes. Not sure how to define more clutch.

  • j

    Haha, should have thought about this more before finishing my post. The other thing is, in the matchups in which Paul had significantly worse numbers than Deron, they weren’t even guarding each other. It wasn’t like Deron was shutting down Paul. He was guarding Rasual Butler or MoPete or Devon Brown.

  • K Dizzle

    I’m cosignin post 29.
    Personally, I like CP3 BECAUSE he is a smaller, weaker barely 6 foot point guard just killin dudes who are bigger and faster and stronger, but on a team with much less help.
    And can we stop givin the credit to DWill beatin Miami when MILLSAP took over that game with the clutchest shooting and rebounding from a powerforward this season?

    I ain’t gonna lie. It’s real close between CP3 and DWill, but my personal preference is the point guard doing much more with a lot less.

    @ j – good point on throwin out the fact that Stcokton put up ridiculous numbers in the same system cuz a lotta cats try to act like DWill playin in the triangle or somethin…

  • S.A.C.

    Two well done arguments (though I think the Deron Williams argument was better). I’d take either one really. How can you lose.

    I’m not going to over-analyze this. These two are point guard royalty in the NBA (along with Steve Nash).

    I do think Chris Paul being a little injury prone, would would swing the advantage with Deron. But if Paul really makes his team mates better than Deron, that would be an advantage for Paul to.

    I think Williams size helps him on offense, but probably hurts him on defense against faster, smaller point guards up top SEAN. Don’t ya think?

    I think they both have great intangibles. But Deron does seem a little bit more durable at this stage, till proven otherwise. But I really love Chris Paul’s game and competitiveness (But I like Deron’s to, but, but, etc.). Lol.

  • S.A.C.

    @manu14

    You called Tony Parker “the best scoring point guard in history”?

    Oh really?

    What about Kevin Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Tim Hardaway, Allen Iverson (if you want to include him as a point guard), Chris Jackson (check Allen Iverson) Derrick Rose (now @ da moment), Stephon Marbury (check Derrick Rose),Tiny Archibald etc.

    You still want to stand behind that?

  • Garrett

    Head to Head means nothing. If it did, Brady would be hands down a better QB than Manning. All it means is that the jazz has consistantly surrounded DWill with better talent and coaching than CP3 has had. CP3 averages more assists, steals, rebounds, less turnovers, with a better w-l record and he is playing less minutes. Anybody can run jerry sloans offense especially if you can shoot and DWill can shoot. Thats the only thing that he has on paul although paul is shooting better from the field, the 3 and Ft line than DWILL is this year. Sounds to me that CP3 does more with less size, talent around him, etc. Plus CP3 has that fire in him that allows him to get the best out of his teamates. He had desmond mason playing like an all star. He is putting jason smith in positions to succeed. The man knows the game and doesnt need a system like deron to be successful.

  • S.A.C.

    PSManu14

    Isiah and many of those other points guards I mentioned, could score 50 on a drop in a NBA game if they wanted to.

    I don’t think Tony Parker was ever that kind of scorer.

    @Garret

    Yes Dwill does play in the Sloan system, which enhances his game and stats, while making it easier for him. But I won’t criticize him for that.

    And you bring up some excellent points about CP3′s passion, though Dwill’s will to win (pun intended) is supposed to be incredible as well.

  • Manu14

    @ S.A.C
    None of them had TP’s effiviency (+50%)…
    Don’t forget TP has to share the load with Gino and Duncan.
    When I said scoring, I should have add in the paint, TP doesn’t shhot the 3 (not that he can’t, but is so much better with the 2pt%).
    Kenny and Barkley already aknowledge that..

  • MC Welk

    Let ‘em settle it on the court tonight (for now). SCOREBOARD.

  • Marcus

    CP3

  • Matt

    in order to be the best, at ANY position, you have to have some success against your common peers. The rivalry between Brady and Manning wasn’t a rivalry until the colts actually started winning the head to head matchups. Kobe is the best 2 guard in the league, just like MJ was in his time. Nobody has been better than those guys while they have been playing. Its like saying Kobe is the best, yet Rip Hamilton is always beating him. ( I realize that isn’t true, just random 2 guard) If that qualifier exists, how could you possibly say that specific player is the best?

    The argument that Deron has been surrounded by better teammates makes him worse is absolute stupidity. This is a league of competition, the point of the game is to put the best team on the floor, and in these past six years, that team has been the Utah Jazz.

    The argument that the Sloan offense pads stats is also ridiculous. The flex offense is one of the hardest to guard against, yet at the same time, it is the single hardest system to implement and use. It takes a great point guard, such as Stockton or Williams to actually be successful in the Flex offense. The flex offense requires every player to make decisions based upon the actions of the defense, knowing instinctually what play to make. If Paul were to asked to run the Flex, based upon what we’ve seen of him, he would fail. His body is too frail, too injury prone to handle the back door screens, cuts and blocks that are required of that system.

    Finally, the playoffs. Paul has played in 17 career playoff games, winning the first round in 2008, and then losing to the spurs in the conference semi-finals, and in 2009, losing in the opening round, with a playoff average of 21.9 and 11.0, but in 2009 he only averaged 16.6 and 10.4, meaning his second year in the playoffs, his production plummeted, and lets not forget, they lost by 54 to Denver in one of those games. Deron’s averages, meanwhile for the playoffs are 21.9 and 9.6, over the course of 4 years of playoffs, for a total of 44 playoff games, and last year was his best year ever, for 24.3 and 10.3. Williams ups his game during the playoffs, where as Paul can’t and hasn’t.

    In a league geared towards winning, you have to win in the playoffs, and Deron has done that much more consistently that Chris has, which is why Deron is the best point guard in the league.

  • sh!tfaced

    hell of a match up. let’s just call it a tie because this will just go on over and over forever… lol

  • S.A.C.

    @Manu

    With all due respect, you are ludicrous and out of your mind if you think Tony Parker was a better scorer than Isaih Thomas, Tim Hardaway, Tiny Archibald, Chris Jackson, Allen Iverson, etc.?

    Come on man.

    I’m not talking just outside shooting either. I’m talking about as scorers as well; and all those guys can score better than Tony Parker ever could (and yes, they all had good outside shots). All those guys could score 30 or 40 any night. And of course, many times they played behind other scorers, as the 2nd, 3rd or 4th option as well on the depth chart. I get/understand that.

    But to say Tony Parker is the best scoring Poit guard of all time is one of the craziest things I’ve heard on here.

    Have you ever seen Isiah Thomas play?

  • Rainman

    i’d jsut liek to say, the ARGUMENT for Deron Williams was a better one.

    im still undecided, its more liek 1.A and 1.B and 2 would have 2 A and 2 B(with either Nash and Rondo, or Nash and Rose.)

    “his just proves that Chris Paul can carry a team unlike any point guard in the NBA.”

    yeah thats still Steve Nash actually. IMO.

  • nobs6669

    @big freeze

    yeah i could say the thier system prove why right they are a great point guard in new orleans the all plays start with cris paul. from dribble penetration to screen and roll to isolation. all plays will start with paul so you would expect stats will go along the way. and to deron i would probably say he could possibly fit in every possible system. to an half court offense to an uptempo system. plus think about steve nash. in his time in dallas you would see he is an above average point guard but as soon as he plays in phoenix from an above average point guard to mvp caliber player. but if you see how he play he didn’t even change the way he play

  • CTP

    D Will just got done toying with Chris Paul… Again. Deron put up 26 points 11 assists 5 steals and 3 rebounds.

    Jazz also smoked em’. People needed to watch that game. D will has it all… And is a better player.

  • OneZero

    one on one, I’d take Deron.

    five on five, I’d take Paul.

    Basketball is a team game, and if I have to choose, I’d take Paul.

    but if its going to be mano a mano, Deron will edge Paul.

  • Mike Iverson

    Let’s see, when playing “five on five” D. William’s has led his team to a 15 – 4 record when playing against Paul. I think this answers the question as to which guard actually makes the players around him better…

  • Manu14

    @S.A.C

    Oviously you didn’t (you’re not alone) watch a lot the spurs…
    TP already had a 55pts 10 ast 7rbd (at +65%)…
    A few times (specialy in 2008-09), when Duncan and Gino were out, he carried the team for multiple 35+ games and ended the year at +54% shooting!!!
    Popovich/Spurs systems doesn’t help producing huge stats, because they share the ball more than any teams.

    Anyway, the players you mentioned are great, we can discuss about who’s the best (at scoring efficiency)!

    My original goal on was to point out how underated TP can be in nba, I mean neither Paul or Deron has accomplished HALF of what Tony did…
    I really think he he is the most efficient PG in the league and when come PO, it’s all about execution…

    TP9 is more clutch than CP3 or Deron…

  • Thestradiosmiles

    Chris Paul is a far more efficient player who will give you more per minute than almost every player in the league, including Deron Williams. Deron is scoring better this year so far, but this would still be the first year he surpassed Chris Paul in this category. CP is also averaging much less shots per game, and continuing to average PPG within the top 40 scorers even though he is not playing the role of scorer, at all.

    Chris Paul is a better rebounder even though he’s shorter and not as strong. He’s improved his three point shot field goal percentage and free throw percentage, besting D-Will in all of these categories. He is averaging less minutes this year simply because in the Hornets wins, he has been so effective during his PT that his presence on the floor became unnecessary to get the win. The Jazz have been playing uphill games simply because the team is not putting itself in position to win as the Hornets have been doing (but then pulling out the win anyway against the odds, a real positive thing and no knock on them)

    A short list of one-on-one matchups I’d absolutely love to see play out:

    Deron Williams vs. Chris Paul
    Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook
    Kevin Garnett vs. Tim Duncan
    Dwayne Wade vs. Kobe Bryant
    LeBron James vs. Carmelo Anthony
    Blake Griffin vs. Amare Stoudemire

  • OneZero

    @Mike Iverson

    thats because he has a better cast than CP3. Boozer,Okur,AK47

    vs

    West,nobody,nobody.
    Ariza,Bellineli, one dimensional Okafor, really?
    and dont forget Tyson Chandler. CP3 basically made them relevant

  • Stewart

    Deron Williams is in the same system as John Stockton that is correct. Deron Williams has never had a pure shooter like John Stockton, his assist is high considering the fact he doesn’t have a pure shooter or a hall of fame big man. Deron Williams has had Ronnie Brewer as a starting shooting guard for a while, are you SERIOUS? John Stockton had Jeff Hornacek who shot over 40% from beyond the arc. As for the Tony Parker crap, he’s good and yes he has accomplished a lot with being teammates with the best power forward to ever play the game. It would be kind of hard to be unsuccessful, hell if Avery Johnson could do it…