As a Chicago Bulls fan, I’m sure you aren’t surprised that the Bulls star Derrick Rose is headlining my list for MVP. For those against Rose, it sounds like I’m just another biased fan who is neglecting real candidates like Dwight Howard or LeBron James are having. For Rose supporters, I’m sure you are looking at this article as another trite repetition of the same things we’ve heard over and over again. But Derrick Rose is, barring some catastrophic injury, the most deserving MVP candidate this season.
There are multiple reasons why people think that Rose is not MVP. A lot of people would say that his stats do not compare to the stats of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, etc. Statistics are great measures as to how good a team is. But if we look at statistics to determine which players are the best, then Amare Stoudemire is a deserving MVP candidate. Just look at his stats. He is a dynamic scorer, putting up 26.4 points behind only Kevin Durant. Kevin Love is also a deserving MVP candidate. Just look at his stats. He has the record for most consecutive double-doubles in a season. He is averaging an amazing double-double with 20.7 points and 15.7 rebounds. But neither of these statistical beasts is shooting up the boards for MVP candidate because they are not helping their team win.
Winning is the next criterion for an MVP candidate. The MVP candidate should be on a winning team. People who actually use this argument against Rose are actually contradicting themselves. Rose has put his team in a position to fight for the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. This is where people argue that a San Antonio Spur should take the MVP. I mean, they have the best record in the NBA, no? But the Spurs can’t have an MVP candidate because if you take away that player, then the team as a whole will still be fine. They wouldn’t be extremely hurt if you remove say Tim Duncan or Tony Parker because they have such depth.
This brings up the most arbitrary criterion for the MVP race. What would this team look like without their MVP candidate? This is where people start bashing on Rose supporters. One route they choose to go look at these statistics. People can measure how indispensable a player is to a certain team. But the importance of a player cannot be measured. Statistics cannot account for intangibles like leadership. As hard as they try, they cannot account for the little things that each player does in order to make his entire team better. Then people argue that Rose supporters are highly contradictory in regards to this criterion. Sure you say that the Bulls have a very deep team, but then you say that if you remove Rose, then they would not be in the same position. How could this be true? How can you have depth, but also remove just one player and watch the team go to shambles? There are two flaws with this logic. Depth does not mean that you have someone who can replace a player. Depth means that a team can go to its bench and keep themselves in the game. That is the true meaning of depth in the NBA. It does not mean that a team can lose its star player and somehow still be in the running for the playoffs. Rose is crucial to the Bulls, but the same argument can be made for Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and all of the other MVP hopefuls. So why does Rose stand out?
It’s not because he has momentum.
Don’t get me wrong. He has the most momentum. His team is winning, he has become one of the most exciting point guards in the league, and he has the support of multiple peers, coaches, analysts, former players including Michael Jordan himself. When you have the support of the His Holy Airness where could you go wrong? But doubters will say that none of these people matter. They are not MVP voters. MVP voters would have more sense. They would not choose someone because they are the popular vote. They would choose the best player, which obviously is not Derrick Rose. But remember. It isn’t the momentum that will drive Rose to the MVP.
Rose defied expectations for not only the Bulls, but also for himself. Honestly, did you think that Rose was going to be even in the talks for an MVP Award? Even as a Bulls fan, I expected this award to go to Dwight Howard or Kevin Durant. I expected Rose to get beat for the 1st team by either Chris Paul or Deron Williams. I did not expect Rose to even be an All-Star Starter. Maybe that was just me, but you can’t deny that the Bulls have exceeded expectations. Apparently there is a statistic that correctly pegged the Bulls of having a 47-18 record at this point in the game. But did this statistic take into account that he would not be playing with Carlos Boozer for 20 games? Did it consider that Joakim Noah would be out for 30 games? Did it take into account that they were doing all of this with a rookie coach, a new system, and 8 new players? I would highly doubt that there is a statistic sophisticated enough to consider these aspects.
Are you still not convinced that Rose is a deserving candidate? Then consider this. Who deserves it more?
Is it LeBron? Statistically, he is better than Rose in many categories, but was he able to lead his team to victory without key parts of his core? How did his team fare when they were without Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade? Well, it wouldn’t compare anyway. Bosh and Wade were out for a total of 10 games. There were other role players who missed games as well, but trying to compare Mike Miller’s importance to someone like Carlos Boozer’s importance is like comparing apples and oranges. One of them is clearly more important than the other in regards to their respective teams.
Is it Durant? Once again he is statistically better than Rose in many categories? But where does his team stand in the playoffs? They are respectable in fourth place in the Western conference, the deeper of the two. But they are 10.5 games out of first. Yes, winning isn’t everything, but when you are that far out of first, something has got to give.
Is it Dwight Howard? Comparing statistics between Rose and Howard is extremely difficult because they are at opposite sides of the spectrum, but generally Howard is the best center in the league and Rose is a top 5 point guard. The Orlando Magic would be completely lost without Howard, and offensively and defensively, he is a considerable threat. But because his team is at a lower position, I’m going to have to give the edge to Rose, but Howard is a close and deserving second place.
Is it Kobe Bryant? Considering everything that was expected out of the LA Lakers this year, I would have to say no. If you told me that they were in 3rd place in the Western Conference, I would have been shocked. But Kobe Bryant, as good as he is, and his Lakers should be a lot better. Yes they have dealt with injuries, but Andrew Bynum is the only starter that has missed any time, and he is not nearly as important as Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah in respect to their teams.
Or is it Derrick Rose? Oh who am I kidding? It is Derrick Rose. Too big, too strong, too fast, too good.