By Danny Moran
The Brooklyn Nets introduced C.J. Watson as their backup point guard on Tuesday and the former Bull turned some heads with his opinion about the NBA's best point guard.
Watson, who spent the past two seasons backing up Derrick Rose, will now fill the same role for Brooklyn's Deron Williams after the Bulls declined to pick up his 3.2 million option for the upcoming season. Watson showed he is clearly excited to play with his new teammate praising Williams as the top player at his position.
"I always thought Deron was the best point guard in the league, always playing against him, watching him." Watson said, according to The Star Ledger in New Jersey. "Hes always one of the toughest players when everyone asks me who is the toughest point guard, I always say him. Between him and D-Rose, its pick-your-poison."
While not a direct shot at Rose's skills, the comment was clearly made at Rose's expense.
Rose and Williams have gone head-to-head six times since Rose entered the NBA in 2008, four times when Williams was a member of the Utah Jazz and twice since he was traded to the Nets. Rose's Bulls went 2-2 against the Williams-led Jazz and have since won both meetings against Williams and the Nets, giving Rose a 4-2 advantage. Rose has won the last three matchups between the two.
Here are their averages for their six head-to-head matchups:
Three of the last four showdowns have been delayed by injuries to both players. Williams missed the last game of the 2010-11 season after undergoing wrist surgery. Rose left the second game between the two last season after 11 minutes with back spasms and then missed the rematch two weeks later with lingering back issues. (The game where Rose left after 11 minutes was not factored into their head-to-head matchups).
In a way, Rose contributed to Williams' departure from Utah to the Nets and had a significant impact on NBA history. The Bulls played in Utah on February 9, 2011, two nights after Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly said of Rose, "He can't play defense."
Rose said the comments did not bother him (which Batum later denied he made) but he held Williams to only five points in the first half, clearly frustrating him with his defense. At halftime, Williams and his head coach Jerry Sloan reportedly almost came to blows in the locker room.
The next day, Sloan resigned after 23 seasons at Utah's head coach. Two weeks later, the Jazz shocked the NBA by trading Williams to the Nets after four straight losses.
Outside of playing against each other, Rose and Williams have clearly established themselves as two of the games' greats.
In Rose's four seasons, he has averaged 20.5 points, 6.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds. During the 2010-11 season, Rose was named league MVP and made the All-NBA First Team. He is a three-time All-Star and also was the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year.
In Williams' seven seasons in the league, he has averaged 17.7 points, 9.2 assists and 3.3 rebounds. He is a three-time All-Star and has been named to two All-NBA Second Teams. He also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Both players have rsums to support the argument, but who do you think deserves the title as best point guard in the NBA?