Once upon a time, Deron Williams was seen as a top-five NBA point guard alongside draft classmate Chris Paul. Now Williams is retired and admits being a little jealous of Paul and how he’s still playing at such a high level all these years later.
Williams and Paul were selected third and fourth, respectively, in the 2005 NBA draft, with both making their presence felt immediately upon entering the league. Williams’ run of great play was short-lived compared to CP3, going from 2006-2013 between Utah and New Jersey/Brooklyn. Deron even had a stretch of four years where he averaged a double-double in points and assists each season. Then injuries began to catch up with him, and by 2013 his numbers and playing time had begun to dwindle.
Paul, on the other hand? While he has been hampered with injuries in his career, his level of play has never seemed to suffer. Regardless of how many points or assists Paul registers, it just feels like he’s been a top point guard since day one in the NBA. Although we don’t really classify CP3 as a scorer, he’s never averaged less than 14.4ppg, and that’s happening this season — while he’s 36 years old. Paul came into this league averaging 16 points and nearly 8 assists a game. Not including this year, Paul averaged a double-double in points and assists six times in his career, and he’s already there again in this campaign. He also has four other seasons where he averaged at least nine assists per game.
This is the Hall of Fame-level consistency that Williams marvels at when watching Paul ball like the rest of us. Aside from the occasional punch to the nuts, there isn’t much negative to be said about Paul’s game. The only thing missing from Paul’s HOF resume is a championship. He came mighty close last season, falling in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals just a few months ago. Paul seems to be in the best place to continue adding to his hoop’s legacy and the right squad around him to potentially run it back this year.
As for Williams, he’s preparing for his upcoming debut celebrity boxing match against former NFL running back Frank Gore on Saturday, Dec. 18. Since his retirement, Williams and former rival Paul have become friends off the court. Paul has been supportive of Williams in his combat sport pursuit and was one of the first people to contact Deron after the fight was announced.
Hopefully, Williams does well in his debut, and as for Paul, his sights are set on leading the Phoenix Suns back to the NBA Finals. That road may be more arduous than initially thought coming into the season, but right now, the Suns have as good a chance of making another deep postseason run as any other team in the association.