“MVP! MVP! MVP!” the crowd screamed at Rose after he hit a jumper late in the game to put the Bulls up by five over the Miami Heat.
And after last night’s performance, MVP is exactly the right word when referring to Derrick Rose.
Rose’s game-high 26 points helped lead the Bulls to a victory over the Three Amigos from South Beach, the second time the Bulls have taken down them down this season–the first time with all three “superstars” healthy.
But also riding behind the game, besides the fact that it was a huge game for the Bulls to prove that they are true contenders for a championship, was the match-up of arguably the top two MVP candidates: LeBron James and Derrick Rose.
The victor: Derrick Rose.
Rose may not have put up a statline as glorious as King James’, but there is a lot more to a performance than just the final stats.
Some of those things include 1) if the player held his teammates, 2) if the player hit the shots that mattered when it came to winning and losing, and 3) if the player’s team was victorious.
For Derrick Rose, that would be 1) checkmark, 2) checkmark, and 3) checkmark.
Now, how about LeBron James? 1) checkmark, 2) nothing, and 3) nothing.
I understand that it was only one game of 82 regular season games, but when you are valuable enough to be honored as an MVP candidate, you should always step up in these types of situations.
Yes, James went for 34 points, 10 rebound, and 5 assists, but he didn’t hit the shot that truly mattered. With 11 seconds left in the game, James took a 24-foot three pointer, which he bricked off the side of the backboard.
However, on the other hand, Derrick Rose helped lift the Bulls to a victory in more ways than just one.
With just under three minutes remaining in the game, Rose drove to the basket and made a layup to put the Bulls up 1. Then, on their next possession, Rose found Deng who hit a jumper to put the Bulls up 3. Their next possession, Rose hit 22-foot jump shot to put the Bulls up 5 with just over a minute remaining.
The Heat managed to crawl back in the game, however, tying it up at 89 with 36 seconds remaining.
But, the Bulls had an answer.
Rose drove to the basket, and instead of trying to force up a shot himself, found the hot-handed Luol Deng sitting open in the corner. Deng drained the three, putting the Bulls up for good.
Did you notice anything about the Bulls four possessions that I mentioned? Derrick Rose was involved in all of them, whether it was taking or creating the shot.
This is not the first game he has stepped up when the spotlight is bright, showing exactly why he has the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
In the last month before the All-Star break, the Bulls had five big games: the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Hornets, and San Antonio Spurs.
Against the Mavericks, Rose had 26 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Against the Magic, he had 22 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists–all with nasty stomach ulcers. Against the Jazz, he had 29 points, three rebounds, and seven assists. Against the Hornets, he had 23 points, four rebound, six assists. And against the Spurs, he had 42 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.
Bulls went against three very highly respected point guards during that stretch–Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Tony Parker–and Rose outscored them by a combined 94-52 points.
Yet, Rose still seems to go under constant criticism.
You say, “Oh, Derrick Rose, he’s not a true point guard.” How about 8.2 assists per game? That is up from 6 assists per game last season.
Next, you say, “Yes, Rose is a point guard, he can’t rebound.” Are 4.4 rebounds per game good enough for you?
Now, just trying to find something to prove me wrong, you say, “Rose can only get to the basket. He can’t shoot outside.” Rose is 35% from three-point land this season, up from 27% from last year. And it should also be noted that he has already taken 179 more three pointers this year.
Oh, did I mention that he averages 25 points per game and has lead the Bulls to a 39-17 record, two wins away from tying last year’s season total. This also has the Bulls at third place in the East, only two games behind Boston and Miami.
Yes, those numbers may not be as high as LeBron James, but last time I checked, Rose wasn’t 6’8″, 250 pounds, and built like a brick shit house.
Rose is a team player, but one who also recognizes when it is his turn to take over.
He is the main reason the Bulls are in the position they are currently in, and that has to be something the voters have to realize. Another example, last season, was when Kevin Durant led his team to their first ever playoff berth. But the voters have a tendency not to look deep enough into what it means to be the most valuable player, which costed Durant a shot at MVP.
So, does Rose deserve MVP right now? Hell yes.
Will he get it? Only time will tell.
But, with everything being said, I can promise you this: if there was a MVF (Most Valuable Flopper), Chris Bosh would have already sealed that race up. Pretty sad that he had the same amount of flops as shots made.