We have seen Chris Paul make a great career for what he is done in the NBA. Over the years he has made many rivals but that wasn’t the case when he first entered the league. Upon entering, Paul was in an instant rivalry with a peer who was entering the NBA as the same draft class as Paul was. That player was none other than Deron Williams.
The start of the dual
Along with Paul, Deron Williams was selected with the 3rd pick of the 2005 Draft by the Utah Jazz. Yes! He was selected a pick higher than Paul. Coming into the Draft, Williams was seen to have more upside as a point guard than Chris Paul. Although Paul had a better college career than Williams, many scouts and analysts believed that Williams was the better player.
Both of them entered their teams who were the bottom feeders of the Western Conference. With their presence, the teams earned a huge boost. Deron Williams helped his team reach the playoffs faster as the following season, he led the Jazz to a 51-31 record while elevating his teammates’ games. Although Deron Williams did not make All-Star team, his teammate Carlos Boozer did with averages of 20.9 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Together they formed the deadly duo of the Jazz.
Williams successful seasons
In the playoffs, Williams and Carlos elevated their game further. The Jazz beat the Houston Rockets in the 1st round in 7 games and cruised past the Golden State Warriors in 5. They were the dark horse of the competition but in the western conference Finals, the Jazz got beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in 5 games.
But this was promise for the Jazz as they now invested on the pair of Boozer and Williams. Williams continued to develop and finally in the 2009-10 season, he made his 1st All-Star appearance. But there are always walls you can’t climb. He couldn’t get out of the 2nd round as clearly the top of the Western Conference are hard to deal with like the San Antonio Spurs or the Los Angeles Lakers.
So, in the middle of the 2010-11 season, Williams took a gamble and got traded to the New Jersey Nets in the Eastern Conference. But the Nets as a roster were not the best. Apart from Brook Lopez and Devin Harris, the team did not pose a threat. So for the following seasons Williams was back to a bottom feeding team.
It wasn’t before the arrival of Joe Johnson in the 2012-13 season, that the Nets were back in the playoffs. But they exited from the playoff race quickly as well. Then came the blockbuster trade from the Boston Celtics that saw Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett landing in the Nets. That time it was seen as the Celtics got robbed. After all who would not go with the lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez.
The start of the end
But this trade backfired as the Nets couldn’t achieve much. Pierce left the team in a season and Garnett followed suit during the trade deadline. The reason mainly being that Williams was starting to decline. He fell off really quickly as he started averaging under 15 points per game. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks and then to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016-17 season after which Williams disappeared from the NBA.
Williams finished his career averaging 16.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 8.1 assists and 1 steal per game. He ended up being a 3-time All-Star and 2-time All-NBA teams. This is very bleak considering the hype that he had coming into the league. He isn’t a bust as he has improved teams but he just lacked he motivation and the determination to play the game.
Someone who did was Chris Paul who is still playing in the league as a championship contender with the Phoenix Suns. He has put up career averages of 18.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals per game. He is a 12-time All-Star, 11-time All-NBA, 9-time all-Defensive, 5-time assist champion, 6-time Steals Champion, Rookie of The Year, All-Star MVP and a member of the NBA top 75 team. Safe to say Paul came out the victor whereas Williams just sunk out of existence!