Who’s Better: Deron Williams or Chauncey Billups?

By: 12.19.08

We argue. You decide…

DERON WILLIAMS (by Andrew Katz)
It’s impressive to see what Chauncey Billups has done in Denver this season, bolstering his career rap sheet by rejuvenating a downtrodden team. But honestly, I don’t know how he does it. Chauncey’s greatest asset is his consistency. Could it be that the Nuggets are so much better because they have someone to play point in the same way, every day, thereby allowing everyone else to get in a groove?

That’s my theory. Even if Carmelo, Nene and K-Mart‘s numbers have improved with Billups in the lineup, it’s not like Chauncey is doing anything so outstanding that these guys are now being left wide open. It’s simply that he’s executing their offense and making smart decisions.

Deron WilliamsDeron Williams (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

That’s exactly why I’d take Deron Williams over Billups. Not only does he execute an offense immaculately well, but he also has another element of flash that is largely absent from Big Shot. Think about it: Deron isn’t bad at anything. In fact, I’d say that he’s the most complete point guard in the League today. Though some other elite PG’s might be better in one specific category, nobody does as many things as well as Deron. Chris Paul doesn’t shoot from deep as well (career 33.8% 3FG vs. Deron’s 37%). Tony Parker isn’t close to as good a passer. Steve Nash can’t finish around the cup or play D as well as Deron. And when it comes to Chauncey, he simply isn’t the playmaker that Deron is.

Jerry Colangelo knows that. And so does Chauncey. That’s why he pulled himself out of contention for the third PG spot in the Olympics this summer, citing a personal family issue. Not to belittle any issue that could have been there, but Billups was expected to take his name out of the drawing to avoid any embarrassment that could have ensued when Deron was inevitably picked ahead of him.

And that turned out to be a good move for Team USA, as Williams proved capable of playing the one and creating for his superstar teammates, or shifting to the two and knocking down corner treys. It wasn’t just a youth movement thing — it was that Deron’s ability to get into the nooks and crannies of an international defense made him a better choice. There, he could shoot his reliable 15-footer, zip a pass inside, or even go all the way to the cup and finish with authority.

In the League, that’s even more evident. As a real triple threat to shoot, drive or pass on every touch, defenses split open for D-Will. And that’s when you want a guy who has some flash to his game.

CHAUNCEY BILLUPS (by Aron Phillips)
While this argument will be interesting to look at later on in Deron Williams’ career, right now there is no point guard more valuable than Chauncey Billups.

Chauncey BillupsChauncey Billups (photo. adidas)

What appeared to be an equitable swap when Billups was traded to the Nuggets for Allen Iverson early this season has turned into one of the most lopsided deals in years. While the Pistons have struggled with A.I., Denver (first place in the Northwest) is off to their best start in franchise history with a record of 17-8 going into Friday’s schedule. And there is no one to attribute that success to other than Billups.

Billups has been the true point guard that the Nuggets have been in need of for years. Averaging 18.2 points and 7.0 assists per game since coming home to Denver, Billups has brought out the best in all his teammates. If you don’t believe me, check out Carmelo Anthony’s 33-point third quarter, the emergence of Nene as one of the top centers in the League, and the return to relevance of Kenyon Martin.

Billups has also been able to step his own game up, shooting 42.6 percent beyond the arc while hitting more than two three-pointers per game. Sure, Deron Williams has been hurt for most of the season, but in the 14 games he has played, he’s averaging only 12.9 points, shooting a career-worst 41.9 percent from the floor, a career-worst 30.0 percent from deep, and committing a career-worst 3.6 turnovers per game.

The biggest thing Billups brings to Denver is a knack for winning, having helped the Pistons win a title in 2004 (where he was the NBA Finals MVP) and to the conference finals six years in a row. There’s also a reason he’s earned the nickname “Mr. Big Shot.” When the game is on the line, there aren’t too many guys I’d trust with the ball, but Billups is one of them.

Who do you think is better?

“Who’s better?” archives
12/17 — Manu Ginobili vs. Tracy McGrady
12/12 — Amare Stoudemire vs. Al Jefferson
12/10 — Dirk Nowitzki vs. Chris Bosh
12/9 — Derrick Rose vs. O.J. Mayo
12/8 — Rasheed Wallace vs. Elton Brand
12/5 — Kevin Martin vs. Vince Carter
12/4 — Brandon Roy vs. Joe Johnson
12/3 — Dwight Howard vs. Yao Ming
12/2 — Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony

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