Deron Williams and Elite Defenses

Deron Williams has the game of basketball all mixed up. Playing against an elite defense should reduce a player’s productivity on offense, but according to Basketball-Reference, Williams is the third best player in the league against top-tier defensive teams (behind Derrick Rose and Dirk Nowitzki). Against lower-ranked defensive teams, Williams ranked just 19th in production.

It’s hard to explain that kind of pattern. Williams is more focused against a tough-minded defensive team (usually the best teams in the league) and decides to kick it up a notch against them. Williams also remains mostly consistent with his offensive rating against good & bad; thus, his ranking against good teams goes up, but his ranking against bad ones goes down.

Either way, Williams’s ranking adds to the idea that he’s one of the best 12 players in the league – at least.