BASN NBA Matchup: Baron Davis or Deron Williams?

By Eric Williams
Updated: February 2, 2007

NBA LogoPHILADELPHIA — One player is an accomplished all-star caliber veteran and the other is a young stud with an extremely bright future. Point blank – which player would you rather have right now as your starting point guard?

Let’s take a look at the career of each player before I get into my analysis and finally, make my selection.

Deron Williams

Williams, in his second year with the Utah Jazz, was the number three overall selection in the 2005 draft. After attending, The Colony High School in Colony, Texas, where, as a senior, he averaged 17.6 points, 8.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game, Williams went to the University of Illinois for the 2002-03 NCAA season and started 30 of 32 games as a freshman.

As a sophomore, Williams improved his scoring average from 6.3 to 14.0 points per game (led team) and improved his assists per game to 6.17 per game and was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media. In 2005, as a junior starting point guard, Williams led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA title game where they lost to North Carolina.

Following the collegiate season, Williams declared for the NBA Draft where he was the first of three point guards selected in succession following number one selection Andrew Bogut and number two pick, Marvin Williams. Williams started the season coming off the bench for the Jazz, but eventually moved into the role of starting point guard.

He eventually finished his rookie season averaging 10.8 points and 4.5 assists per game, in 80 games played and was rewarded by being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, as well as being the only other rookie besides Chris Paul to receive a first-place vote in the 2005-06 NBA Rookie of the Year voting.

Williams began the 2006-07 season as the starting point guard for the Jazz and the team jumped out to surprising a 12-1 record. They have maintained their stellar play and are currently one of the top championship contending teams in the league, with Williams averaging career highs in nearly every category.

Baron Davis

Davis, in his eighth year out of UCLA, is currently the starting point guard for the Golden State Warriors. Davis became a third-team All-American at UCLA before being drafted after his sophomore season in the first round (No. 3 overall) by the Charlotte Hornets in 1999.

Davis has racked up several awards since arriving in the NBA, including two All-Star appearances (2002 and 2004) and two back-to-back Player of the Week honors in April 2005, becoming the eighth player in league history to win the award in consecutive weeks.

As fine a player as Davis is, he is not without flaws – or critics. The knock on Davis biggest has been his almost constant health problems, which have caused him to miss 115 games over the last four years, even though he didn’t miss a single game his first two.

During the 2005-2006 season, Davis was limited to 52 games with several injuries, poor shot selection, and poor shooting. Despite these negatives he averaged nearly 9 assists per game, good for second best in the NBA, while also recording a career-best 18 assists on November 17, 2006.

Davis’ critics also point to his abysmal career shooting percentage, which currently stands at a dismal .409 percent from the field and only 66.8% from the free throw line While Davis is an all-purpose point guard who can score, dish and crash the boards, he also has a penchant for turning the ball over and is often quite enigmatic.

My Pick

This selection was fairly easy for me the more I thought about it. Williams, in only his second year, has already begun to fulfill some of his nearly unlimited potential, while we may have already seen the best that Davis has to offer.

I’m not sure if Davis has ever been what you’d call a “leader” although he is a terrific scorer. Williams, on the other hand, seems to already have a better concept of the “team” approach than Davis has ever had.

No offense to Davis, but point blank, Williams is the player I would take every single time in this matchup.

Tommorrow: Earl Boykins or Sebastian Telfair?