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Deron Williams Or Chris Paul?

If you didn't read Jack McCallum's great Sports Illustrated article about Deron Williams and Chris Paul, do yourself a favor and click on this link. And if you want to see the future of NBA point guards, and a rivalry that will likely live for the duration of their careers, you have to check out the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Hornets tonight.

That certainly is the must-see game of the night (And there are some pretty good ones with Dallas-Orlando and Denver-Portland).

Williams and Paul have been linked ever since they went third and fourth, respectively, in the 2005 NBA Draft. Paul won rookie of the year and was named to Team USA while Williams struggled the first half of his first season under Jerry Sloan. Last season, Williams had the breakout campaign, leading the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals and earning a spot of the U.S. Men's National Team, while Paul dealt with a lingering ankle injury and failed to make the playoffs.


Would you rather have me? (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

This season, Paul has emerged as a candidate for the league's most valuable player and an all-star while leading the Hornets to the best record in the Southeast Division. He's averaging 20.7 points, ranks second behind Steve Nash in assists (10.6) and leads the league in steals (2.5). Williams has been no slouch, with his team now atop the Northwest Division as it rides a season-best eight-game winning streak. He's averaging 18.8 points and ranks fourth in the league with 9.6 assists. but he didn't get an invitation to the all-star festivities.

(UPDATE: Williams has been invited to an all-star event, if not the game. He was added to the PlayStation Skills Challenge competition against Dwyane Wade, Jason Kidd and, um, you guessed it, Paul.)

After scoring nine points in the fourth quarter and leading the Jazz to a 96-87 win against the Washington Wizards last Friday, a reporter walked up to Williams and said he guesses Williams plans on making a statement to the coaches who didn't pick him for the all-star game for the rest of the season.

Williams made a loop in his tie and said, "You said that."

Williams isn't going to make many bold public declarations about any perceived slights or say anything to incite his opponents. He'll just play and leave the talking to everybody else. A day after he and Baron Davis proved to be the odd men out in the Western Conference backcourt logjam, Williams was asked about how it felt to get snubbed.

"I'm definitely disappointed not to make it," Williams said, "but that's how it goes."

If not for a miserable December, in which the Jazz went 5-11, had a season-long six game losing streak and momentarily slipped out of playoff contention, Williams likely would've joined Paul in the all-star game. "It's February," Williams said. "December is out of our minds. We're going to let that go."

It's a little easier to let it go when Williams recording a double double in each of the past seven games. Paul's Hornets have lost two in a row after winning their previous nine and are looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.


. . . Or me? (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images)

In his last six games against New Orleans, Williams is averaging 17.7 points and 7 assists while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor. Paul is shooting just 36 percent in his past five games against the Jazz. Overall, the Jazz has won seven of the past nine meetings.

The last matchup was a bit of dud. The Jazz won 99-71 on Nov. 23 as Williams had 12 points and 7 assists, but he only played 29 minutes and struggled with foul trouble. Paul had 15 points and six assists.

Aside from the constant discussions whenever they go head-to-head, Williams and Paul are friends. Williams even said invited Paul to his house for a Super Bowl party yesterday. "It's just another game on the schedule for me, and for him," he said. "Y'all make a big deal about it. We don't. I just want to win. That's the main thing."

The Hornets and Jazz will play two more times after tonight, but the excitement will really begin this summer, when Williams and Paul compete over the backup point guard spot for the Beijing Olympics. "It's going to be fun," Williams said.

By Michael Lee  |  February 4, 2008; 3:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

Can't go wrong with either one. I personally would take PAUL. I think the jazz made the correct decision for their style of play though going with DERON.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 4, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The more intriging question if you're a Wizard fan is, if you're going to start a team, who'll you going to choose as PG TODAY? Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Gilbert Arenas?

Posted by: Dave, | February 4, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I forgot my vote. I'll choose CP.

Posted by: Dave, | February 4, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Thats a great question Dave.
1a. GA
1b. CP
2. DW

Posted by: JSchon | February 4, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

1. CP
2. GA
3. DW

Posted by: andy | February 4, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse


Gilbert Arenas is not a point guard.

I'm taking Chris Paul, hands down.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | February 4, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So what is he a center? From the last time I checked he's in the PG bracket. We are not talking about if he's a true PG or a shooting PG. The reality is he STILL is considered as a PG.

Posted by: Dave, | February 4, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

yup..you hit it on the naill...GA is not a TRUE point gaurd...i would take Chris Paul...i might even consider him in a trade involving him and GA....what do you think of that swap...WHO HAS MORE TRADE VALUE???...would we give up more or would they???

Posted by: Fulvio | February 4, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

i think personally our team would be better built around Caron Butler...so i would chose a player that has more of a PG role and that plays TEAM ball...CP3 is better defensivley and team ball wise than arenas...may not get as many points but thats why we have such i good bench in which we need to do a better job developing (i.e. Young...Blatche...Pechorov...McGuire)

Posted by: Fulvio | February 4, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

woukd any of you like to have Kyle Lowry on our team...Memphis is willing to hear offers for him now that they got Conley and Crittenton

Posted by: Fulvio | February 4, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"i might even consider him in a trade involving him and GA....what do you think of that swap..."

I think if Grunfeld actually tried proposing such a trade to the Hornets, he would be deafened by the sound of laughter coming from the other end of the phone.

Posted by: kalorama | February 4, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

would the Grizz take back the phantom #1 pick for Lowery?

Posted by: khrabb | February 4, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"The more intriging question if you're a Wizard fan is, if you're going to start a team, who'll you going to choose as PG TODAY? Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Gilbert Arenas?

Posted by: Dave, | February 4, 2008 03:40 PM"

That's a no brainer. First off, Gilby is not a point guard. He's an undersized shooting guard.

Here's the ranking:

1.Deron Williams
2. Chris Paul
3. nobody else, b/c Gilby is a shooting guard

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 4, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"i think personally our team would be better built around Caron Butler...so i would chose a player that has more of a PG role and that plays TEAM ball...CP3 is better defensivley and team ball wise than arenas...may not get as many points but thats why we have such i good bench in which we need to do a better job developing (i.e. Young...Blatche...Pechorov...McGuire)

Posted by: Fulvio | February 4, 2008 04:42 PM "

Amen to that.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 4, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

How on earth is this even a debate? Let's see, Paul's PER is 27.42 compared to Williams' 20.45, the Hornets play at the league's 5th slowest pace compared to the Jazz's 6th fastest pace (so Williams' numbers are created in approximately 3 to 4 more possessions a game), and Williams plays on a team with 3 other former All Stars on it, compared to the Hornets, which only this year has had an All Star outside of Paul. Yet, Paul has his team in position to win at least a playoff round this year (the Jazz won 2 last year, but matchups played a huge role in that 2nd round victory over 8th seeded Golden State) despite having a worse supporting cast and bench. Let's see, overall, Paul has more rebounds, assists, steals, points than Williams, with the pace being even slower than that of Williams' team, while turning the ball over almost 1 fewer time per game. Case Closed

Posted by: Raj | February 4, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

How on earth is this even a debate? Let's see, Paul's PER is 27.42 compared to Williams' 20.45, the Hornets play at the league's 5th slowest pace compared to the Jazz's 6th fastest pace (so Williams' numbers are created in approximately 3 to 4 more possessions a game), and Williams plays on a team with 3 other former All Stars on it, compared to the Hornets, which only this year has had an All Star outside of Paul. Yet, Paul has his team in position to win at least a playoff round this year (the Jazz won 2 last year, but matchups played a huge role in that 2nd round victory over 8th seeded Golden State) despite having a worse supporting cast and bench. Let's see, overall, Paul has more rebounds, assists, steals, points than Williams, with the pace being even slower than that of Williams' team, while turning the ball over almost 1 fewer time per game. Case Closed

Posted by: Raj | February 4, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris Paul has had the better career thus far, but I'm taking Deron. I love the way he plays. Maybe its because I've seen him more than Paul. The Hornets/Jazz would never trade Paul/Williams for Gilbert. Gilbert is the exact oppisite of what Jerry Sloan looks for in a player.

1.DW
2.CP
3.GA

Posted by: Dude | February 4, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

LOL!

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 4, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

That was a great article. And as long as we are handing out kudos to Jack McCallum, I would like to recommend his book ":07 seconds or Less". It is about the 05-06 Phoenix Suns. Very enjoyable, quick read.

Posted by: Dude | February 4, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Who are the three former all on Utah? I am sure Boozer is one (and I think he has played better with Williams than anyone). Who are the others.

Posted by: George Templeton | February 4, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Boozer, Kirilenko (04) Okur (if you can believe it, last year, as an injury replacement). Obviously at this point, you'd probably take Chandler over Okur defensively, but Okur's offense is clearly stronger than the one dimensional Chandler (103 of his 225 FG this year have been dunks) and he's been superior to Chandler in most years until the past year or so. Boozer is clearly more prolific than David West (who basically gets a lot of his points off pick-and-pop jumpers) and Kirilenko is a guy that the Hornets have no real answer for. People jumped off of the Jazz's bandwagon early in the year, but anyone looking at the team's difficult schedule and injuries, as well as their extremely good point differential on the year, knew that this team was going to have a much better record in the 2nd half. Lo and behold, all the "experts" are shocked that they are playing so much better than their "disappointing start." I am predicting right now that Denver will miss the playoffs; they've had one of the easiest schedules in the league and more home games than road games, yet have a medicore point differential to show for it despite the breakneck pace they play at.

Posted by: Raj | February 4, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Deron has beat Paul every time he has beat him individually and team almost everytime they've played. Deron 8-1 against including college and went to the western conference finals and national championship game in college. I'll take the winner any day.

Posted by: JRHamilton | February 4, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't it occur to you that a "winner" often has the help of his teammates? Last I checked, Vince Young (who plays for my favorite team, the Titans) has been labeled a winner in the NFL when it's that team's defense that carried the team all year long. The Illinois teams that Williams played on had Luther Head (ex first round pick), Dee Brown (2nd round pick of the Jazz), James Augustine (2nd Round pick) and another pretty solid player in Roger Powell. I don't think Chris Paul played with any other drafted players in his time at Wake Forest. Whenever I hear about players being labeled "winners," it is a garbage argument that masks the fact that 1)They may be considered "clutch" because they don't play well enough in the first place to help put themselves in a position where they could've blown a team out (ie a guy shoots 3 for 18 in a game, makes the last second shot to win and he gets all the credit even though his teammates were the ones saving his behind by keeping the team in it while the "winner" was shooting them out of it), or 2)They have teammates that are doing a lot of the heavy lifting and the "winner" gets a bunch of the credit. I don't understand how you can take a 9 game sample size and proclaim that Williams is the big "winner" against Chris Paul. I prefer to look at, I don't know, a couple hundred games that they've played in the pros and college to get an idea of how good each player is. Winning games is a function of the quality of the players around Paul or Williams and not a direct reflection on how good the players are themselves.

Posted by: Raj | February 5, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't it occur to you that a "winner" often has the help of his teammates? Last I checked, Vince Young (who plays for my favorite team, the Titans) has been labeled a winner in the NFL when it's that team's defense that carried the team all year long. The Illinois teams that Williams played on had Luther Head (ex first round pick), Dee Brown (2nd round pick of the Jazz), James Augustine (2nd Round pick) and another pretty solid player in Roger Powell. I don't think Chris Paul played with any other drafted players in his time at Wake Forest. Whenever I hear about players being labeled "winners," it is a garbage argument that masks the fact that 1)They may be considered "clutch" because they don't play well enough in the first place to help put themselves in a position where they could've blown a team out (ie a guy shoots 3 for 18 in a game, makes the last second shot to win and he gets all the credit even though his teammates were the ones saving his behind by keeping the team in it while the "winner" was shooting them out of it), or 2)They have teammates that are doing a lot of the heavy lifting and the "winner" gets a bunch of the credit. I don't understand how you can take a 9 game sample size and proclaim that Williams is the big "winner" against Chris Paul. I prefer to look at, I don't know, a couple hundred games that they've played in the pros and college to get an idea of how good each player is. Winning games is a function of the quality of the players around Paul or Williams and not a direct reflection on how good the players are themselves.

Posted by: Raj | February 5, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"Winning games is a function of the quality of the players around Paul or Williams and not a direct reflection on how good the players are themselves."

A little of both, really.

Posted by: kalorama | February 5, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

two things from a commenter above i take issue with: 1) "Williams plays on a team with 3 other former All Stars on it, compared to the Hornets, which only this year has had an All Star outside of Paul." 2) "overall, Paul has more rebounds, assists, steals, points than Williams, with the pace being even slower than that of Williams' team, while turning the ball over almost 1 fewer time per game."

the reason why Paul has more rebounds, assists, steals, and points than Deron is BECAUSE Deron plays on a loaded team. Paul pretty much has to carry his team night in and night out and his numbers are only slightly higher than Deron's. On a team with Boozer, Okur, Kirilenko, Korver, Brewer, Deron is STILL scoring 19 per game. Utah is a great rebounding team without Deron pulling down 7 or 8 per nite. the big men grab the rebounds while Deron surveys the court and starts the run (faster pace remember?) oh, and did i mention that Deron took his team to the WC finals last year, or that Deron is now 7-1 against Paul in the NBA? because he did and he is. Just look at the line from tonight and then say CASE CLOSED. I thank the gods above every day that we took DW over CP.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2008 4:54 AM | Report abuse

"That's a no brainer. First off, Gilby is not a point guard. He's an undersized shooting guard."

Charles Barkley who at 6-5 is considered as a PF and not a PG. Gilbert will always be a PG.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

alrite after 2day's game here is the conclusion: DW>>>CP
case closed.

Posted by: mart | February 5, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"Charles Barkley who at 6-5 is considered as a PF and not a PG. Gilbert will always be a PG.

Posted by: | February 5, 2008 09:39 AM "

Uhh, that's because CB played like a power forward. Gilby plays like a shooting guard.

Posted by: DC Man88 | February 5, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

1. CP
2. DW

Gilbert is a combo guard. Depending on the team, he could be better than those two or worse. Teams like Chicago/Detroit/New Jersey would be better off with Arenas. Houston/Dallas/Atlanta would probably want the other two

Posted by: MDBaller1 | February 5, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

uhhh deron williams is better than chris paul hands down

Posted by: mike | February 16, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

DWill vs. CP3 = Tie. There are too many "statless" statistics that are not being added to the equation. Sure CP3 barely tops DWill on the stat board, but there are invisible stats that are not being counted. For an example: How hard one or the other hustles, how much pressure they put on the deffender to make them shoot a hurried shot, how well they move without the ball, how well they move with the ball, so on and so forth. What I am trying to say is that you could not go wrong with either one of them. They are both winners and they both push and pull their teams to victories.

Posted by: Spanky | May 7, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

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