I can remember very vividly hearing conversations (that turned into arguments) about who was the better point guard between Deron Williams and Chris Paul. It was something you would hear pretty often in the Salt Lake market when Williams was a member of the Utah Jazz. Back then it was a reasonable discussion to have because both Paul and Williams were two of the games best lead guards. The same can still be said of Paul, but Williams is no longer in the conversation and hasn’t been in years.
Paul and Williams will always be linked because they came into the league in the same draft and were taken with back-to-back picks. Williams was selected third overall by the Jazz, while Paul went fourth to the New Orleans Hornets in 2005.
Paul started from day one with the Hornets and found instant success while Williams had more of a roller coaster ride during his rookie campaign. He only started 47 games in year one with Utah as plenty of Jazz fans wondered aloud why Paul wasn’t the choice of the Jazz front office. Those talks began to die down in year two as Williams led Utah to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the San Antonio Spurs.
The debate ragged on (at least locally) while both players reached the heights of the game. Both made the Olympic team and multiple All-Star games. Paul got all the national love while Williams dominated the individual match-ups giving Jazz fans some validation along the way.
While Paul is still at the top of the game after moving to the Los Angles Clippers, the change of scenery haven’t been as kind to Williams.
Williams still plays a big role for a Nets team that is in the second round of the playoffs, but injuries and a lack of aggressiveness has hindered his ability to stay at the top. While Paul has made seven consecutive All-Star teams, Williams has missed the NBA’s biggest spectacle the last two years. In fact the numbers Williams put up in 2013-14 (14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists) were his lowest since his rookie season.
With the struggles that Williams has had as of late, the argument of who was the better choice is all but sewn up in the favor of Paul, and unless Williams can return to form, it’s not even close.