They were also selected within a pick of one another in the 2005 draft (D-Will third, Paul fourth), so comparisons are going to be inevitable -- and unavoidable.
“It’s a part of the game. And I think it’ll follow them pretty much their whole careers ... they’ve had some pretty terrific games against one another,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said at morning shootaround prior to Friday night’s game against the Clippers. “I think I’ve said it before with the Kyrie Irving-Deron matchup, this is another one I’ll pay to see, because those guys are that good.”
For what it’s worth, D-Will is 13-4 in his career against CP3.
“I enjoy playing against him, but I don’t circle these games any more than I do the next,” Williams said. “But I do enjoy playing against him. I think he brings out the best in me, because I know I have to be ready to play a good 48 minutes of basketball.”
Johnson isn’t concerned that the game will turn into a 1-on-1 battle between the two All-Star floor generals.
“No, I doubt it. I think they’re two smart guys. Deron with our situation, it’s all about us winning. He wouldn’t want to look at a stat sheet and see that he had more points or a better game than Chris and we not win the game,” Johnson said. “I think at this stage in their careers, it’s all about winning.
Added Williams: “That’s what you want to do, you want to win games. It’s not about the stats or anything like that, it’s about wins and losses.”
D-Will is averaging 17.5 points and 8.2 assists for Brooklyn (6-4) this season, but is shooting just 41.4 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from 3-point range. He has been plagued by various injuries.
Did the day off on Thanksgiving help him out at all?
“A little bit,” Williams replied.