Why Deron Williams Is Better Than Chris Paul

Marcel SmithSenior Analyst IOctober 23, 2008

The two best point guards in the league right now are Deron Williams and Chris Paul.

Both are a level above the rest of the lead guards in the NBA. They were drafted back to back in the 2005 Draft, as Deron was picked number third-overall by the Utah Jazz and Paul was picked fourth-overall by the New Orleans Hornets.

While both are great, they are very different players. Paul uses his electric speed and craftiness with the ball to drive to the basket and either finish or dish out to his teammates. Paul is also a small guard who uses his small stature to steal several balls on defense, as he is great as sneaking behind opponents and poking the ball out.

On the other hand, Deron uses his great size and shooting ability to dominate other guards. Deron is one of the biggest point guards physically, as he is 6'3" and weighs 210 lbs. He uses his great size to bully to the basket and post up smaller opposing guards.

Despite his big size, Deron still has good speed and agility. He is a great shooter in the mid-range and from the three-point line. He has shot 46.6 percent from the field so far in his three year career (50.7% last season) along with 37.4 percent from the three-point line (39.5% last season).

The opinion of the general public is that Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league by a significant amount.  He was an MVP candidate last season, as he had a terrific season turning around the Hornets' team from a 40-win team to a 56-win team that finished second in the mighty West.

Last season, Paul averaged 21 points, 11.6 assists, four rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. He led the league in assists and steals per game, and also shot a great 48.8 percent from the field, 37 percent from the three-point line, and 85 percent from the free-throw line, while averaging just 2.5 turnovers per game in 80 games played.

On the other hand, last season, Williams averaged 18.8 points, 10.5 assists, three rebounds and 1.1 steals, while shooting a fantastic 50.7 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from the three-point line, and 80.3 percent from the free throw line, and also averaged only 3.4 turnovers per game in all 82 games.

In my opinion, Deron Williams is the best point guard in the game.  He is more durable than Paul, he plays much better head-to-head against Paul, he doesn't have as good teammates as Paul does, and he is more clutch than Paul is.

Deron vs. Paul Head to Head

So far in three seasons, Deron and Paul have faced each other ten times. Deron has completely dominated Paul in most of the their matchups. The Jazz are 8-2 against the Hornets in these games.

Deron has career averages of 17.5 points, 7.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds, while shooting a tremendous 54.3 percent from the field and 42 percent from the three-point line against the Hornets in his career.

On the other hand, Paul has struggled mightily against Deron, as he has career averages of 13.8 points, nine assists, and three rebounds, while shooting a terrible 35.4 percent from the field and 15 percent from the three-point line against the Jazz in his career. So when Paul faces the best point guard, he struggles a lot and loses the majority of the time.

Durability/Clutch Play/Defense

Deron is also more durable than Paul and will most likely have a longer and healthier career.  He can handle the grueling NBA schedule with his great strength, while Paul will struggle staying healthy.  He already has been injured in his career before and has a much better chance of getting injured in the future.

Deron has also shown that he is better than Paul when it matters most—in the playoffs. In just his second season, Deron led the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals. as he dominated the Rockets in the first round, the Warriors in the semfinals, and the Spurs in the West Finals—even though they lost in five as the rest of his team was outplayed by the frontcourt of San Antonio.

He also advanced to the semifinals last season. His career playoff stats are 20.2 points, 9.2 assists, and four rebounds. On the other hand, Paul has played well in the playoffs, but his team blew a 2-0 and 3-2 lead to the Spurs in the semifinals last season, and lost Game Seven at home after they had the Spurs on the ropes several times in the series.

Paul didn't man up in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and instead let Janerro Pargo take most of the shots instead of himself—the MVP candidate and leader of the team.  On the other hand, in Game Seven against the Rockets two years ago, Deron scored 20 points and had 14 assists as he led the Jazz to a close 103-99 victory in Houston against arguably the best defense in the league at the time.

Also, while Paul gets a lot more steals than Deron, he is not as good of a defender as Deron. Deron is a tougher player who is good one-on-one and a good team defender. Paul is great at stealing, but he often is too aggressive defensively as he allows his opponent to past him. He also gets posted up a lot because of his small size.

Paul Has Better Teammates Than Deron Does, and Plays in a More Up-Tempo Offens

The main argument people say in favor of Paul over Deron is that he has better statistics than Deron does in scoring, passing, and rebounding, or that he is a much better thief, as he averages twice the steals Deron does. However, the main reason why Paul has better stats is because he has better teammates, and he plays in a much more up-tempo and free-flowing offense which fits his game perfectly.

Paul's main teammates are David West, Tyson Chandler, and Peja Stojakovic, while Deron's main teammates are Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur, and Andrei Kirilenko.  Chandler is better than Okur, West is better than Boozer, and Peja is an assist machine who is better than an inconsistent and emotionally-weak Kirilenko.

Another factor in Paul getting better stats than Deron is that the Hornets play a far more up-tempo offense, while the Jazz play much more halfcourt basketball, which means Deron has fewer opportunities to get easy points and assists in transition.

Another factor is that the Hornets' offense is basically Paul dribbling at the top of the three-point line.  He then either drives to the hole and shoots, or passes to a teammate—which allows him to get several points and assists.

Paul was the only player on the Hornets last year who averaged more than 2.4 assists, while Deron has a couple of teammates who are also good passers, as Kirilenko averaged four assists per game and Boozer averaged three.


Both Deron and Paul are amazing players, and are without a doubt the top two point guards in the league.  It will be that way for the next decade as long as they stay healthy.

However, I think Williams is better than Paul as he is more durable, better in the postseason, doesn't have as good teammates, and dominates Paul when they play against each other.

What do you guys think???