Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Chris Paul or Deron Williams?

At the end of last season, it looked pretty obvious to a lot of NBA followers that the Utah Jazz had made a mistake on draft day when took Deron Williams over Chris Paul. Not that Williams played poorly, but Paul was just so good. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year, and in an even greater achievement, was named the first team PG on my 2011 All-NBA team (ok, maybe that's not the greater achievement).

But this year Deron Williams has evened the playing field a little bit. He appears to have lost some weight, is a little quicker, and is playing some great basketball for the 13-3 Utah Jazz. Which begs the question, if the Jazz had to do it all over again, would they take Deron Williams or Chris Paul? Let's take a quick look at the numbers.

First Paul, the incumbent PG of the future. He has continued to be excellent, upping his scoring average from 16.1 PPG to 17.9 PPG this year. Likewise, the Assists per Game are almost 1, to 8.6 APG so far this year. The rebound numbers are down a little, but still a solid 3.9 a game. He's also getting 2 steals a game.

As for Deron Williams, all the numbers are up. He's up to 17.1 PPG and 9.0 APG, which is 4th in the NBA (Paul is 5th). His 3-point shooting is down a little bit, but he's making 30% of those. Like Paul, he's averaging about 3 turnovers per game, for a solid 3:1 Assist: TO ratio.

So what does it all mean? Well, I'd take either on my team. Deron Williams is the better outside shooter of the two... his FG% is higher, and the 3 point% is much higher (and smartly, Paul tends to avoid taking 3s). As is obvious by the high assist totals, both are excellent at finding teammates and creating easy shots for others. Both are solid defensively, with probably a slight edge to Paul.

So who's my choice? Well, for all of the great work Deron Williams has done, I'm still on the Chris Paul Bandwagon. Williams has caught up to Paul in a lot of categories, but Paul is still better at getting to the rim and getting to the FT Line. This year Williams has gotten only about 3 FT attempts per game, while Paul has had 5.4 (and 6 per game last year). This helps obviously to get teams in foul trouble, but also to get easier points and not be as reliant on the outside game.

So while Williams is greatly improved from his rookie year, I'd still take Paul. But really, you can't go wrong with either guy.

If you were the GM of the Jazz, and you could go back in time, which PG would you take?