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Just The Sports: Williams, Felton, and Paul

Just The Sports

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Williams, Felton, and Paul

Of three second-year point guards of the future-Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Raymond Felton-only one has actually improved over what he accomplished during his rookie campaign while the other two have largely maintained their rookie level of production. Yet, the two point guards who have failed to increase their offensive output in their second full season in the NBA are not on equal footing with each other. One of these has nothing to worry about while the other's stagnation will certainly become a problem if he fails again to improve when his third season rolls around.

The one who has shown the marked improvement is none other than Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams. His rookie campaign was a largely lackluster one, but he has seen fit to statistically significantly improve on it, raising his effective field goal percentage (47.8 eFG% to 50.1 eFG%), true shooting percentage (50.0 TS% to 53.8 TS%), points per shot attempt (1.00 PSA to 1.08 PSA), and assist rate (26.2 AsR to 33.4 AsR).

However, a constant drizzle is about to fall on Williams's parade. Even with the raised level of play he has demonstrated, Williams's career is no match for Chris Paul's. Of course, the fact that the rookie season Paul has failed to improve upon and only matched is one where he was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year may have something to do with Williams being unable to make up all the ground he was kind enough to spot Paul when their respective careers commenced. Williams is still Paul's inferior in true shooting percentage (52.0 TS% to 54.4 TS%), points per shot attempt (1.04 to 1.09), assist rate (30.3 AsR to 31.5 AsR), turnover rate (10.8 ToR to 9.4 ToR), and rebound rate (5.3 RbR to 7.7 RbR).

Then there is Raymond Felton, who is in danger of being left behind by the aforementioned Williams and Paul. While his career is comparable to Williams's right now, at least Williams has shown that there are brighter days ahead in his career. Felton has given no reason to expect future improvement from him and he does not have the advantage Paul holds of already having a great season in his back pocket. Right now, Felton is living up to whatever reasons led to his being drafted last out of these three point guards. Fortunately for him, his leash is probably longer than most, considering he is playing for an expansion team that has yet to shed its expansion look.

Williams and Paul look to be the brightest shining stars out of this group and the race to see who will turn out to have the best career will probably only involve them unless Felton learns quickly how to be a more efficient scorer and passer.



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