Both Deron Williams and Chris Paul were once competing for the status of being the best point guard in the league.
Despite being about the same age, however, Paul still finds himself thriving while Williams has been out of the league for several years.
“I’m a little jealous he’s still out there shining,” Williams said. “And, you know, it’s fun to watch. He’s a special player, one of the best to ever do it, and he’s defied time.”
Both point guards were part of the 2005 NBA Draft class, as Williams was drafted one spot ahead of Paul.
Paul Still Thriving at Age 36
CP3 is 36 years old, but he’s aging like fine wine.
He’s averaging 14.1 points and 10.7 assists per game, as the Phoenix Suns currently own the second-best record in the league at 13-3.
A lot of the Suns’ success has to do with Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, but it’s Paul’s knack for picking his spots as a scorer, making plays for others and bringing it on the defensive end that’s really allowing Phoenix to live up to its fullest potential.
“Seems like every team he goes to he makes them instantly better because there’s nobody who predicted the Suns to be in the Finals last year,” Williams said. “He was a huge part of that.”
With where the Suns currently stand, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them back in the NBA Finals at the end of this season.
Both Once Dubbed as the Best Point Guards in the League
When D-Will was with the Utah Jazz and CP3 was with the New Orleans Hornets, both of them established themselves as arguably the best point guards in the game alongside Derrick Rose while Jason Kidd and Steve Nash were both aging.
There was a legitimate case that Williams was the better point guard than Paul.
As Paul had struggled with injuries earlier in his career while Williams was thriving in the playoffs year in and year out with the Jazz, as he averaged 21.1 points and 9.6 assists across 44 playoff games in Utah.
However, both of their careers went in completely different directions after Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets) and Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
After a successful couple of seasons in New Jersey, Williams struggled with injuries once the Nets made the move to Brooklyn.
Once Williams and the Nets realized their partnership was over, Williams moved on to his hometown Dallas Mavericks following a buyout agreement with Brooklyn.
After finding success as a role player in Dallas for a season and a half, Williams eventually agreed to a buyout with them to move on to a contending team.
Williams went on to join LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to serve as Kyrie Irving’s backup and initially had some success before completely burning out in the NBA Finals, where he was held scoreless in all but one of the five games between the Cavs and Golden State Warriors.
Williams effectively retired after that season, whereas Paul continued to have success in stops with the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Suns following a very successful run with the Clippers.