2012 Summer Olympics: Deron Williams Has Been Best Point Guard on Team USA

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 29:  Deron Williams #8 of United States passes the ball against Kevin Seraphin #4 of France in the Men's Basketball Game on Day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on July 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As Team USA prepares for its Olympic medal round opener against Australia in London Wednesday, they're a team that only has one position left to solve: point guard.

In exhibition play, United States coach Mike Krzyzewski played around with starting Deron Williams over Chris Paul but wound up choosing the Los Angeles Clippers point guard for when the games count.

But through five games in London, it's become pretty clear that the Brooklyn Nets star Williams has outshined Paul for Team USA.

Here's a few reasons why.


Team USA's second unit, led by Williams and Carmelo Anthony, make up for slow starts

In four of Team USA's five Olympic contests in preliminary round action, the United States led by fewer than 10 points heading into the second quarter.

For the most part, that's because the Americans come out hesitant. Team USA comes out in slower set plays that are meant to get everybody involved but serve to do little than stagnate the offense.

When Williams comes into the game, the offense never stagnates.

With Team USA ahead of Tunisia just 21-15 after the first quarter, D-Will came out with a steal, assist and block within the second quarter's first 37 seconds en route to helping the U.S. start the quarter strong.

In the third period, with Team USA having still not put Tunisia out of reach, Williams once again served as an offensive spark plug. D-Will fed both Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love with dimes while adding a couple buckets of his own.

If Team USA wants to get out to quick starts, they should move Williams, a better starter, to the starting lineup and Paul, a better finisher, to the end of games.


Williams is a more prolific scorer

CP3's 51.7 field goal percentage and 7.6 points per game so far in Olympic play are artificially enhanced by his 17 points and 6-for-7 shooting performance against Lithuania.

Without that performance, Paul is averaging just 5.3 points per game on just 40.9 percent shooting. Those rates are worse than Williams' overall numbers of 8.4 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting.

And considering the assist numbers are nearly identical (Paul averages 5.8 assist per game to Williams' 5.6) and D-Will is yet to throw up a prolific performance like Paul just did, we're not even looking at Williams' apex contributions to Team USA yet.


Team USA looks like a better team with Williams on the floor

There are no counting stats for this particular argument, but if you've watched every minute of Team USA action so far in London, you know what I'm talking about.

The ebbs and flows of the offense run better through Williams' hands than Paul's. Whether that's a case of Paul not being comfortable now or simply a case of him being tired from carrying the Clippers all season, Williams looks like a gazelle running in the open court with his Olympic teammates.

And considering most of Team USA's points come in transition, that's made Williams look all the more lively.

Granted, the margin between these two point guards is negligible and the pendulum could swing at any moment.

But if Coach K had to choose one point guard down the stretch in the gold medal game, he'd choose Williams right now.