Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams: Ending the Debate Once and For All
From the time Chris Paul and Deron Williams entered the NBA in 2005, there has never been a season where Williams put up better total statistics than Paul. True, there have been times where Williams has bested Paul in one category during a season, but Paul always emerged as the superior player when looking at the season as a whole.
In the 2007-08 season, Williams's .595 true shooting percentage and 0.6 block percentage were better than Paul's .576 true shooting percentage and 0.1 block percentage. However, Paul was better than Williams when it came to PER (28.3 to 20.8), offensive rebounding percentage (2.4 percent to 1.4 percent), defensive rebounding percentage (10.3 percent to 8.3 percent), total rebounding percentage (6.2 percent to 4.9 percent), assist percentage (52.2 percent to 43.6 percent), turnover percentage (12.1 percent to 17.7 percent), steal percentage (3.9 percent to 1.5 percent), offensive rating (125 points produced per 100 possessions to 118 points produced per 100 possessions), defensive rating (103 points allowed per 100 possessions to 110 points allowed per 100 possessions), offensive win shares (13.2 to 8.9), defensive win shares (4.6 to 2.3), total win shares (17.8 to 11.3), and win shares per 48 minutes (0.284 to 0.177). Since Paul led the entire league in assist percentage, steal percentage, offensive win shares, total win shares, and win shares per 48 minutes, it is safe to consider that season a win for him over Williams.
Last season, Deron Williams was better than Chris Paul when it came to block percentage (0.5 percent to 0.4) percent, offensive rebounding percentage (2.2 percent to 1.3 percent), offensive win shares (7.4 to 5.7), defensive win shares (3.0 to 1.5), and total win shares (10.3 to 7.3). Unfortunately for Williams, his advantage in win shares is negated by the fact he appeared in 31 more games than Paul. Based on Paul's superior win shares per 48 minutes (0.204 to 0.177), had he played an equal number of games and kept producing at the same rate, there is no question he would have surpassed Williams's totals.
Despite the advantages Williams had over Paul in those categories, Paul still had the better PER (23.7 to 20.6), true shooting percentage (.584 to .574), defensive rebounding percentage (11.9 percent to 10.4 percent), total rebounding percentage (6.5 to 6.4), assist percentage (45.4 percent to 44.5 percent), turnover percentage (13.5 percent to 16.9 percent), steal percentage (2.9 percent to 1.8 percent), offensive rating (122 points produced per 100 possessions to 116 points produced per 100 possessions), and defensive rating (109 points allowed per 100 possessions to 107 points allowed per 100 possessions).
Also, keep in mind their two seasons were only that close in production because last year was an injury-plagued one for Paul. Whenever both are equally healthy, Chris Paul always surpasses Deron Williams in complete production.
This season, Deron Williams is leading Chris Paul and the entire NBA in offensive win shares with 3.2. Chris Paul's retort to that is to lead the NBA in PER (27.0), steal percentage (4.9 percent), total win shares (4.5), and win shares per 48 minutes (.288). Even at Deron Williams's best, Chris Paul is better.
With the exception of block percentage, over their careers, Chris Paul is leading Deron Williams in every advanced statistical category. To understand just how much more valuable Chris Paul has been to his teams than Deron Williams has been to his, remember that Paul leads Williams in career win shares by 23.0 despite playing in 43 fewer games.
Chris Paul is more than just the NBA's best point guard and a superior player to Deron Williams; he should be regarded as one of the two or three best players in the league. Anything less than that is to do him a disservice.