Who's Better: Williams or Parker?

Comparing two of the NBA's elite point guards across six categories

Originally Published: April 4, 2012
By Chris Palmer | ESPN the Magazine
Tony ParkerJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesDeron Williams' shooting and passing abilities give him the edge over Tony Parker.

The careers of Deron Williams and Tony Parker couldn't be more different. One's a three-time champion who still manages to get overlooked, the other is a whirlwind of talent and ability who's never won anything. In his 11th year, Parker is continuing to polish what could be a Hall of Fame career while seemingly still struggling to earn respect.

Williams' name has been tossed around as one of the game's best point guards since he entered the league, but his credibility as a franchise player could use a shot in the arm. In the age of the point guard there's an intriguing matchup on the floor every night and Parker versus Williams is as compelling as it gets. When it comes to elite-level lead guards these two are right up there. But who's better?

Ball handling

Williams has possibly the most complete handle in the game, employing a variety of misdirection and change-of-pace dribbles in both the half court and in transition.

Parker
AP PhotoParker's handle is efficient and tight, allowing him to slip double-teams easily.

Nearly everything Williams does is set up by a dribble move of one kind or the other. D-Will loves the classic crossover set up by a hard right shoulder fake to get the defender to commit before blasting the ball right-to-left across his body. Flypaper defenders are usually served a quick follow up of a left-to-right crossover that normally frees his pull-up. But put Williams in the open court and it starts to get interesting. He's one of the few players who can make sharp changes of direction in the open floor without sacrificing speed or ball control, forcing defenders to play keep up.


To read more on why Deron Williams is better than Tony Parker, become an Insider.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine