Derrick Rose is not the MVP | Magic Basketball

«

»

Mar 29

Derrick Rose is not the MVP

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Is it a race if it’s already over?

When it comes to the race for the Most Valuable Player award, the answer seems to be yes, given that the support for Derrick Rose — the star point guard for the Chicago Bulls — has swelled in recent weeks to dizzying heights. In some ways, it makes sense. The Bulls are in position to claim the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and win more than 60 games in the regular season. Rose is the unquestioned leader for Chicago and when looking back at history, players like him put themselves in great position to win MVP.

But does Rose deserve the award?

It depends on who you ask.

A majority of the mainstream media have made it clear who their choice is — Rose. This should come as no surprise, given that this is the same contingent that handed Steve Nash back-to-back MVPs in 2005 and 2006, Allen Iverson the MVP award in 2001, and so on and so forth. What do these players have in common? Each of them, including Rose, exceeded a narrative that was bestowed upon them before the season began. Entering this year, Rose wasn’t the favorite to win MVP. Rose wasn’t even on the radar. After his heroics in leading Team USA to gold in the 2010 FIBA World Championships, Durant was seen as the player that would dethrone LeBron James and begin his evolution in becoming the best player in the NBA. Durant was the media’s choice. Unfortunately for Durant, he did not fulfill expectations and he was quickly forgotten in the conversation for MVP.

In a race for MVP that was wide open at the onset, Rose took control because he and the Bulls came out of nowhere in the East. The narrative that was set in stone for Chicago was that they were a year away from becoming a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic were going to duke it out for conference supremacy, while the Bulls would play the role of annoying brother and try to cause as much of a ruckus as possible. Of course, things have turned out much differently. Chicago has shattered expectations, with the help of head coach Tom Thibodeau, a smothering defense, and an excellent supporting cast that’s been able to complement Rose’s talents. And it’s not like Rose hasn’t had a great season because he has, given that he’s produced at a high level, particularly in crunch time, and was more than deserving of being named the starting point guard for the East in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. But it can’t be denied that Rose has benefited from the storyline itself.

It’s a storyline that has vaulted Rose as the favorite to win MVP. It also helps that the structure of the league favors perimeter players. As such, Rose’s highlights are more exciting to watch in the eyes of the fans, given the position that he plays. That aids in painting a certain picture of how good Rose is.

While the mainstream media has made their decision, the online presence that covers the league and the analytics community has tried to make it clear in recent weeks that Rose isn’t the correct choice. This is no different than the tug-of-war that’s occurred in baseball in recent times. There are so many dogmatic principles that have been accepted as canon in baseball, like when it comes to choosing the Cy Young winner for instance, that it took years for not only the sabremetrics community to bust a lot of myths but to insert their voice in the discussion when it comes to having a vote in the process as a member of the BBWAA. It’s clear that basketball is reaching a similar stage. Unfortunately, one of the main differences is that writers like John Hollinger, Kevin Pelton, and others, who have made a concerted effort to quantify everything on the court and come away with accurate observations, don’t have a say in the voting process. As such, the dogmatic principles that surround choosing the MVP remain steadfast and strong. For example, too many times the MVP goes to the best player on the best team in the league or conference when that shouldn’t always be the case. Is Rose any different of a player if his team finishes first in the East or third? No, of course not. Heck, in 2003, it can be argued that Tracy McGrady should have been the MVP, given that his production was unrivaled by almost any of his peers, but he wasn’t even considered for the award because he was on a team with a supporting cast that was no better than average. It makes no sense to penalize McGrady and the season that he had for something that is almost entirely out of his control, yet this happens frequently when the voting comes up and people look at the standings during the construction of their arguments. It’s similar to pitchers in baseball getting unfairly penalized because their team can’t provide run support or they commit errors that cause unearned runs or the bullpen gives up the lead.

If the technology and information is out there to make an informed decision that’s also the correct one, why ignore it? Thankfully, that’s something that baseball has learned and the hope is that basketball can catch on too.

As such, using technology and information, there are a number of arguments being made for Rose that, when peeling away the layers, are flawed. This isn’t meant to disparage Rose, but to uncover the truths and reveal the realities as to why the Bulls are so good this year.

Best defense in the NBA
The Boston Celtics have gone back-and-forth with Chicago when it comes to leading the league in allowing the fewest points per 100 possessions. But the Bulls have led the NBA in that category for a majority of the season. Chicago’s leap from having a good defense (allowing 105.3 points per 100 possessions in 2010) to an elite one (allowing 100.0 points per 100 possessions in 2011) is a big reason they’re a championship contender right now. That has little to do with Rose and almost everything to do with the arrival of head coach Tom Thibodeau and his relentless defensive schemes. Rose is simply a piece to the puzzle defensively. To assign all credit for the Bulls’ improvements on defense to Rose would discredit Thibodeau’s arrival, great defenders like Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, and a bench that is quietly become a suffocating unit on that end of the floor. In fact, as a collective, the reserves are better defensively than the starters.

Which leads to the next point. Rose did not carry Chicago when Noah and Carlos Boozer sat out at different points in time due to injuries.

The Bulls’ defense carried them. When Taj Gibson filled in for Boozer and Kurt Thomas filled in for Noah, Chicago’s defense did not miss a beat. In the 54 combined games that Boozer and Noah missed, the Bulls held their opponents to 97.7 points per 100 possessions. That’s remarkable. Again, that speaks more to Thibodeau’s system defensively than it does on Rose. Defense remains a challenge to quantify but it’s worth noting that among the starters for Chicago, the defense improves the most when Rose is off the floor. When Rose is not in the game, the offense suffers dramatically but a superior defense makes up for it. Even more so than Boozer, someone that has been criticized a lot defensively in previous years yet is not as much of a drag on that side of the ball than Rose. Indeed, Rose’s impact on offense for the Bulls does more than enough to make up for his defense compared to his teammates. This isn’t to label Rose as bad defensively because he’s improved on that side of the ball this season. In fact, Synergy Sports Technology suggests that Rose is an excellent defender, although that’s partly because he benefits from the team-wide trust in Thibodeau’s schemes and the near flawless rotations Noah, Deng, and others execute on almost every possession. But it’s still a useful exercise to point out such a disparity and try to figure out Rose’s value on defense, though it’s especially revealing that there’s scads of evidence suggesting Chicago improves defensively without him by a considerable degree.

An excellent coaching staff and supporting cast
Where would the Bulls be without Rose?

That question is brought up many times, with the underlying assumption that Chicago would be nowhere to be found and subsequently located in a dark abyss without the shining light of Rose to guide them on the path to a title. Thing is, the Bulls would still be a playoff-caliber team if Rose wasn’t on the roster, something that Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference is able to quantify:

In plain English, Chicago’s lineups can be expected to have an efficiency differential of +5.00 against an average team with Rose in the game, while they can be expected to have a differential of +2.36 against an average team when Rose isn’t in the game.

Again, this shows that while Chicago is certainly lessened when Rose is not on the floor, the hypothesis that they would completely fall apart without him is baseless. +2.36 is still a playoff-caliber team, essentially the same as the Hornets or Thunder. And this is after adjusting for the strength of opposing lineups when the backups are in the game, so it’s accounting for any backup-vs-backup effects.

That’s because a great supporting cast would remain, including a double-double machine in Noah, an All-Star caliber talent in Boozer, one of the top perimeter defenders in the league in Deng when healthy, as well as one of the best benches in the NBA and the coaching wizardry of Thibodeau. The point is, Rose isn’t alone in the journey. Thanks to an excellent offseason by Chicago, Rose is surrounded with plenty of talent and a superb coaching staff. It’s true that Rose is the leader and closer of the Bulls, leading them to many victories down the stretch with the basketball in his hands. But like senselessly ignoring Chicago’s defense, it would behoove people to ignore the impacts of not only Thibodeau but players like Noah, Deng, and Boozer as well as newcomers like Kyle Korver that have stepped up in crunch-time themselves.

Rose is a great player but the Bulls are a great team.

There are better MVP candidates
There’s no question that Rose has stood out this year for Chicago. The problem is that there are players better and more valuable than him.

The likes of LeBron James and Dwight Howard, just to name a few, have performed at a higher level and out-produced Rose by a wide margin. It’s one thing if Rose is within striking distance statistically to James and Howard when looking at the numbers across the board, but he’s not close. That’s one of the biggest reasons that it’s hard to argue that Rose is deserving of the MVP when there’s superior candidates. Critics may be quick to argue that James, in particular, has the benefit of playing alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh but consider this. The Miami Heat arguably have the worst bench in the league, which has forced James to carry a heavy load just like he did with the Cleveland Cavaliers, even with Wade and Bosh en tow. Plus, when James is off the floor, the Heat get outscored by 0.3 points per 100 possessions. But when James is present, Miami outscores opponents by 10.1 points per 100 possessions so that’s where his presence is felt. To put that number in perspective, the Bulls outscore their opponents by at least 6.0 points per 100 possessions whether Rose is on the court or not. The Orlando Magic, on the other hand, would likely fall apart without Howard, given that he’s the direct driving force of their successes on offense and defense when taking into account his omnipresence in the paint.

adj. +/- net +/- stat. +/- PER WARP Win Shares/48
LeBron James +10.64 +10.5 +8.06 26.9 20.8 .238
Dwight Howard +12.96 +6.0 +7.23 26.1 20.8 .235
Derrick Rose +8.23 +0.5 +5.20 23.3 16.1 .199

Statistical plus/minus and WARP are prorated to 82 games

Stats aren’t everything. This is true. However, it’s hard to explain away the disparity between Rose and players like James and Howard. Intangibles only go so far before reality sets in. And the reality is that players like James and Howard are elite players on both ends of the floor because of their ability to impact the game on every possession. James and Howard are two of the most efficient players in the league on offense. For James, even though his three-point shot comes and goes, his ability to finish at the rim, get to the free-throw line, as well as punish opponents in pick and rolls, are qualities that stand out for him. As for Howard, it’s his tremendous growth in the low post that has spurred his ascension as one of the more gifted players offensively and made him a complete two-way player. James and Howard aren’t only highly efficient players on offense, but they are key cogs to their respective units defensively. James is a terror on the perimeter on defense and is able to defend multiple positions. Meanwhile, Howard is well on his way to earning the Defensive Player of the Year award for a third consecutive season, given that he’s been able to anchor the Magic defensively despite little help from his teammates.

Rose’s overall resume can’t quite compare.

TS% eFG% TOV% USG% ORtg
LeBron James .590 .536 13.6 31.5 116
Dwight Howard .620 .600 16.3 27.2 113
Derrick Rose .540 .478 13.1 32.5 111

Granted, Rose is an efficient player to an extent, but he’s nowhere nearly as efficient as James and Howard even though he’s shouldering a similar burden on offense. And yes, it’s true that Rose has gotten better offensively but not dramatically so.

MP FG FG% 3P 3P% FT FT% PPG RPG APG
38.0 9.1-20.2 .450 1.5-4.3 .355 5.2-6.2 .838 24.9 4.4 8.2
36.0 8.1-20.2 .404 1.6-6.1 .284 7.0-7.9 .887 25.1 3.7 7.1

Before and after the All-Star break

The main improvements for Rose has been his ability to shoot three-pointers at a higher percentage than in previous seasons, as well as doing a better job of drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line. As was pointed out elsewhere, the surprising thing is that although Chicago is 15-4 after the All-Star break, Rose’s numbers have dipped a little bit. If Rose hasn’t changed much as a player before and after All-Star weekend, then it’s increasingly clear that the elements like defense, coaching, and bench play have aided in the Bull’s surge to the top of the East along with Rose. Because for as much as Rose is responsible for the Bulls’ success on offense, they’re only ranked 14th in offensive efficiency. That goes back to Rose being a marginally efficient player himself, which matters a great deal in this discussion.

Granted, that’s a massive improvement from last year, in which the Bulls were 27th in the same category, and Rose deserves plenty of credit for that quantum leap. But that’s precisely the reason that Chicago signed a scorer like Boozer and a shooter like Korver, as well as utilize Thibodeau’s coaching acumen to develop a better system to improve the offense. There are many reasons why the Bulls are in the position that they’re in, but it’s not all Rose.

So who should be the MVP?

Let’s put it this way.

The same numbers that showed Michael Jordan should have been MVP nearly every year he played in the NBA are the same numbers that show Rose shouldn’t win the award.

42 comments
ben
ben

Homer. Rose Should be MVP

Guest
Guest

-- The supporting cast was just that- players that could *support* Rose as he led the team and shouldered the weight left by the two injured big men. Without Rose taking charge in the absence of Boozer and Noah, Chicago would undoubtedly have done worse as a ball club.

-- You attribute Chicago's mediocre offensive efficiency as a team solely to Rose, yet you don't attribute their defensive success to him as well? As you know, basketball is a team game, and Rose is not the only player to blame if his team's offensive efficiency is pedestrian, just as he is not the sole reason Chicago's defense performs so well. If you use stats to praise or discredit someone, keep your perspective consistent.

-- Howard is a dominant force, one of the League's elite, but his supporting cast isn't that much worse than Rose's. The Magic have Turkoglu, Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Nelson, all players who have experienced success in the NBA. The Magic actually have seven players other than Howard who average double digit points, as opposed to the three players other than Rose on the Bulls.

-- LeBron and Wade are two of the most dynamic and unstoppable players in basketball, but it would be hard for either of them to win an MVP award while on the same team because their value to the Heat as a team depreciates due simply to the other's presence (and ability to dominate or take over a game)

I agree that the MVP voting system can be a popularity contest, and that the media does have a strong influence on writers' votes, but the attention from the media is garnered by certain players for a reason.

I disagree with your statement that because of his position, Howard does not get the ball late in the game, not because I think he does get it, but because I think there are different reasons he doesn't get passed to. You argue that since he isn't a point guard and isn't given the ball to bring up the court, Howard doesn't get the touches he deserves in crunch time. I don't think that applies to a player of his caliber, because if the Magic really wanted to run their offense through Howard, they would find a way to get him the ball. Players who aren't point guards, like Kobe, LeBron, and Durant, command a vast majority of their team's late game possessions despite their positions. You can say that superstar perimeter players have the ability to bring the ball up court, and thus could in theory start the possession with the ball in their hands without having to rely on a teammate to give it to them, but what about players who can't, but still get the ball in late game situations like Dirk, Duncan, or Stoudemire? Howard's teammates and coaching staff can be blamed for his lack of touches, but an MVP commands respect from the entire team and thus commands the attention of the offense, a characteristic that Howard evidently has yet to develop fully.

That being said, this was the most well supported article arguing against Rose as the MVP and I had fun reading it.

Plainviewoil
Plainviewoil

How stupid do analysts have to be to not realize that the Bulls have the second best record in the NBA after losing their STARTING center and STARTING power foward for now 56 games? No player in the conversation has had to go through what Rose has and done what he has. He had only three other returning teammates. He has had a new coach and a brand new system. Oh, by the way, did I mention he's the only player in the NBA in the top 10 in points and assists? Did I mention the Bulls have the second best record in the NBA? Did I mention Orlando has the 8th best record in the league? Did I mention Miami has an abysmal 4-9 record against the top four teams in the NBA? Did I mention the Heat's 2-17 stat in game winning shots?

Elbert
Elbert

Eddy, who had the better team? LBJ Cleveland era (08 - 09 and 09-10) or Rose with the present Chicago bulls? LBJ is still the best player in the NBA and Howard is a close two, can't deny the impact that rose is showing but it's "Thibodeau's System" that wins them, Many petrifies lebron because he has wade and bosh in his side, but let us look at the reality that their starting five is light years ahead against the bulls but the overall make of their team is just the worst in the nba. Will i trade Bron for Rose? Nope.. Can Rose gather a Lebron-like stats while playing along side with wade who is just as ball dominant? Yet to be seen but unlikely.

DP
DP

Derricks defense was really bad in his rookie year and not so flash in his second year. As a die hard bulls fan who watches every game I can assure you that Rose is much improved on the defensive end but the media has not caught onto this, I'm not saying he is a stopper but he is nowhere near as bad as Carlos Boozer.

"Even more so than Boozer, someone that has been criticized a lot defensively in previous years yet is not as much of a drag on that side of the ball than Rose" - If your statistics tell you Boozer is better defensively then Rose then I can't put to much weight into what they say.

the rest of your argument I agree with. Lebron and Howard have definitely had superior individual seasons to Derrick Rose

tfizzle
tfizzle

Why not try Aper when comparing the three? Why use PER when you don't need to estimate assisted vs. unassisted FG's for this year's players? PER is only useful for historical seasons in which those statistics were not being measured?

Jimbo-b
Jimbo-b

Very good article. I'm more convinced than ever that Rose, while indeed playing quite well, does not deserve the MVP. My vote would go again to Lebron.

CBT470
CBT470

Just plain stupid. The author wants to make the point that a guy who runs up stats on a losing team should be MVP (McGrady in '03). Rose has a much harder time building stats as he does play on a team with depth and a team in the hunt for the best record in the East, if not the league.

Our author is taking a page out of the Michelle Bachman play-book: say stupid things and you will be a part of the conversation. Agree with the consensus and you will be ignored. Poor baby. I'll be the author was the loudest screamer in the nursery when he was born.

Tspent1
Tspent1

This guy does not know what he is talking about much less ever played the damn game. All your stats is invalid against Rose, while trying to paint a narrative for James or Howard. The game of bb is not all about stats; you need chemistry, camaraderie, and raw emotions to play the game. So much of the game is emotion that propels and wills a player or team to play consistently at a high level. Typically, that player is the guard/2 guard and Rose fits that bill perfectly. You can so-call have the best defense system or coach, but you need players to execute. Rose will have earned the MVP, just like any other player who may be bestowed the honor of the award. Rose is leading the Bulls to victory to top the East.

I’m a Laker fan, but Kobe should not be considered for the MVP, his time has passed for this award, but he is a winner. In this vein, Rose is showing leadership with victories to boot and this is why he will earn the MVP in my estimation.

guest
guest

at least Steve Nash was tops in the NBA in some aspects such as offensive rating, true shooting percentage (50+, 40+, 90+%) and assists. Derrick Rose is not even close to being the best in the NBA in anything

Vwong9
Vwong9

Actually a lot of the people taking the other stance usually do come off as haters, because they find the notion of Rose being MVP "ridiculous" and usually say it in a condescending tone (not saying you are).

In reality, MVP is an award for interpretation, and being an award being voted on by writers, will always be a popularity contest.

If you want to find fault in the process, blame LeBron for his terrible PR skills and Dwight for his dirty play, poor free throws, and team devastating technical fouls. Blame Dirk for being boring, Manu for being on the Spurs, and Kobe for being public enemy number 1 for many years.

Remember, it's not the "Best Player Award," it's Most Valuable to the League award. Story lines matter to keep the sport interesting and alive.

Mik_dane1925
Mik_dane1925

they just cant accept the fact that a 22 year old 3rd year veteran in the nba has been dramatically great and been doing it in a great way.... rose just excemplify the true meaning of MVP.. being great yet humility is still there.. has the true respect of the game and cares less for personal prestige but prestige for the time... a classy one indeed

guest
guest

Where does the humility nonsense come from? This is a guy who said before the season that he could be MVP. He did not want Lebron on his team. He takes by far the most shots on his team even though he shoots far worse than the rest of the team. He says stuff like "the one thing you don't want to do is piss me off".
Sure, Lebron is on another level when it comes to being full of himself, but he has also been the best player in the NBA by a wide margin for years.

Robinb
Robinb

I would add that not only are Howard and LeBron a level above, but there are a handful of players between where they are and where Rose is. Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki are three guys on top-level teams who perform Rose's role (offensive centerpiece) better than he does, and would make more deserving MVP winners. Rose might be sixth on my list, but not far above the efficient and perenially underrated Manu Ginobili, defensive lynchpin Kevin Garnett, and statistically superior Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul.

What's sad is that I have nothing whatsoever against Derrick Rose or Chicago. I like the guy, and he's having a fantastic season. And he never asked for any of these over-the-top declarations. But they put me in the position of having to point out his relative weaknesses.

Tom
Tom

Acutally I just didn't have time to discuss LBJ haha. I know what you were trying to say with the Jordan comparison, but I (and I think most Bulls fans) look at it from the other angle. We wanted Jordan to win every year, and if the award were merely "best player," he would have. But he didn't. So now, if he couldn't benefit from that, then we certainly aren't going to support LeBron benefitting from it.

Dedikashun4
Dedikashun4

"That's partly due to Howard's position..."

I'm not following the logic in that argument.

I appreciate your article, but I think a lot of the devaluing of Derrick's Rose year (despite the numbers you posted) appears to be from this ration that he plays on a superior team, when if asked several months ago, no one would dare label the Bulls as a "superior team" in the NBA.

Rose is a HUGE apart of the team's offense and ability to score late in games. I would love to see numbers posted on percentage of team's points scored for Rose compared to other players in the league.

He's constantly double-teamed as we saw in the most recent Philadelphia game and he still finds ways to score or set his teammates up for shots.

Let's not forget that, Boozer and Noah, have been out for a good portion of the season. Not to mention, lack of a SG to take some of the pressure off of Rose bringing the ball up the floor.

I really think the argument is more bias than substantive, but I respect your opinion.

Gque24
Gque24

kobe is the MVP. 4 years str8 of dominance out WEST and possibly might catch Spurs for #1 seed out west for the fourth str8 year.

If any1 deserves the award because they have been screwed over 3 or 4 times already its Kobe!

However I have no problem with Rose winning because he has done enough all season long to be worthy! LBJ has numbers like he always does, but he doesnt have any wins vs the better MVP option (ROse 0-3)! LBJ cant be rated over Rose for that simple fact! You have 2 superstars on your team and you cant defeat 1 Superstar and his role players at least 1 gm during regular season. Rose has the nod over LBJ. I would argue Wade was playing the better ball of the 2 when MIA has had the bulk of their success during this reg season. But they both should cancel each other out much like Kobe & Shaq used to be penalized for playing together.

guest
guest

Kobe is not even the most valuable player on the Lakers. Gasol has way more win shares, and is at least even with Kobe in all advanced stats.
Lakers played better last year when Shannon Brown played instead of Kobe for 5 games

Shwnbntn
Shwnbntn

whats really funny is that shaq and kobe only have one apiece and you want me to feel bad for lebron and d12? why not talk about the over 500pt that d12 left at the freethrow line? last thing why wade name never gets mention he's 3rd in per all yea because he play right next to james and it hard to make a case for a guy who team-mate number are just as good.

tfizzle
tfizzle

isn't he being judged on something like 1 of 18 shots? He really hit a terrible stretch there around the break. I would agree though that much of what is ailing lebron this year is due to perception.

McDuh
McDuh

1 time? He did it twice against the Bulls alone this year.

Dedikashun4
Dedikashun4

... And, that he plays on the best starting 5 (talent-wise) in the league. Hence, why the Bulls and Rose are "THE" story of the NBA and Eddy is trying to make a story out of it.

Shawn Green
Shawn Green

This whole argument about Rose's defense is based on on/off and adjusted +/- and it's absolute garbage. Even on 82games, where they originated the whole concept they say that even a full season of stats can be highly misleading, and that's for a starting player. There's a lot of very challengeable conclusions about that are being derived form those numbers, the types of conclusions that shouldn't be come to.

But to give you an idea how fallacious it is to build an argument based on adjust +/- then just follow you're reasoning all the way through and give Omer Asik the MVP because his adjusted +/- is better than LeBron's or Howard's. If you don't want to do that acknowledge the deficiencies of it. I could go on and on and explain why but if you can use a stat to "prove" that Asik is one of the best players in the NBA, the stat has a problem, which is why the originator of it specifically says NOT to do it.

Here's the bottom line on Rose's defense. When you look at just starting lineups, he's a part of the best defensive starting lineup in the NBA. Skew that however you want, but he's a big part of that defense, and it's not in spite of him, it's because of him.

When you look at the specific numbers on synergy Rose's specific points per play against are lower than any starting point guard in the NBA. Synergy's data only looks at when a play is run on a certain player, marks what kind of play it is, and then categorized. Each play is watched and a determination made.

When a play is run at Rose, it succeeds only 35 percent of the time, and an average of .76 points are scored. In isolation plays, where the defender really is defending one on one, and there's no crutch, Rose only allows .65 points per play, again the lowest of any starting point guard in the NBA.

I don't think that's a defensive deficiency.

Furthermore, it's downright fallacious to simply say "defense carried them not Rose" because you still need offense and if you don't score you don't win. Derrick Rose personally scores or assists on almost 45 percent of all Bulls points, the highest percentage of any player in the NBA.

Derrick Rose Rose draws so much attention teammates' field goal percentage goes up 6.5 percent just because he's on the floor. The offensive rebounding rate goes up by 2.5 percent, just because he draws so much attention.

You're leaning too hard on on/off and +/- stats. You're argument is more about what James bench DOESN'T do than what James does.

The fact is that if the Bulls didn't have the injuries they do, the Bulls would be in the mid to upper 60s with wins and we wouldn't even be having a conversation about MVP.

jonnyfairplay
jonnyfairplay

You are doing God's work. Just shared this on facebook.

M R
M R

"That's partly due to Howard's position. He's reliant on his teammates to give him the basketball..."

Really?? Has it ever occurred to you to ask *why* he's not getting the basketball in crunch time?? His teammates don't give it to him and his coach doesn't want them to because he's a disaster and liability at the line.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Howard not getting the ball late in games is a problem with his teammates, not with Dwight. When the Magic have gone to him late, it's worked out more often than not.

tfizzle
tfizzle

What is this based off of? Are we to believe that in the last 2 minutes of a game, the Magic simply reverse course on their behaviors for the first 58 minutes? It would seem more reasonable to attribute any deliberate decision to not give Dwight Howard the ball to something other than a problem with teammates that only rears it's head at the exact same moment whenever they find themselves in a close game.

cbfan
cbfan

LeBron does not deserve MVP. Why is it that everyone all of a sudden wants to hate on D. Rose? He's playing great basketball. The Bulls lead the East. How can you say defense is the only reason the Bulls stayed afloat while Booz and Noah were injured? Then where did their offense come from? Mostly D. Rose breaking down defenders and scoring or finding open teammates. Bottom-line, you take Rose from the bulls you have nothing. Wade can win without LeBron. He's proven it. Orlando w/o D. Howard maybe not. But with Arenas, Bass, Nelson, and J. Richardson they have a better record than the Bulls w/o Rose.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

So Nelson, Bass (lolz), and Arenas (double lolz) are as good as Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah? Really? Okay. The Magic have the best player between the two teams in Dwight Howard, but the Bulls have the next four best players (adding Rose to the list of 3 I mentioned before). The Bulls are pretty much just as good defensively (the reason why they win games) without Rose, while the Magic are nowhere near as good offensively OR defensively without Howard.

You lose, sir. Try again.

tfizzle
tfizzle

You lose, the Magic have performed the same way for all but one month of the year, pre and post trade their win loss numbers have varied very little.

Tom
Tom

Good article, well supported. I disagree with the conclusion, however. Rose shoulders a far higher burden than Dwight on offense, even your usage rate number brings that up. Plus, Dwight barely touches the ball in crunch time, the exact opposite of Rose. LeBron isn't even the best MVP candidate on his team so I'm not gonna discuss him.

On an (even) more selfish/homer note, I think Bulls fans would take the contrapositive of your Jordan/Rose analogy: Since Jordan didn't win it every year, there must be more to MVP than "best player" status/ numbers.

Ferric24
Ferric24

Great article. Hopefully basketball will follow baseball in the coming decade and start awarding mvps based on player merits instead of outside factors extraneous to basketball. Hopefully Dwight Howard can pull a Hakeem and dominate the Bulls and show everyone who is the true MVP.

Guest
Guest

The problem with this thought is that baseball is more of an individual one on one sport. It is much easier to break down every single pitch into its individual outcomes. In basketball, you have to take non-statistical measures into account. For example, how do you measure the play where Rose gets double teamed at the top and is able to dump it to the high post and start an effective 4 on 3. There is no statistical measure for that play.

Carlo Simone
Carlo Simone

I hate that this is getting out of hand because I really really like Derrick Rose as a player. But honestly the fact that nobody has been able to quantify why he is a serious MVP candidate is crazy. And people that say the numbers don't matter don't understand why the numbers are there in the first place. Advanced metrics are there to show definitively what makes a player great. I may think a guy performed really well because I see that he scored 30 points, but the stats will show that he did it while only connecting on 30% of his attempts. That's bad. That's a lot of wasted opportunities that another player may have made.

And the numbers show that our eyes don't always deceive us. They show that Derrick Rose is an amazing basketball player. But they also show that there are other players who are more amazing this season.

In the end, MVP awards have far less of an impact on a player's legacy than championships and how they perform with their team. Honestly, I constantly forget that Kobe won MVP a few years ago. It's because it has very little bearing on his legacy. Derrick Rose can begin his run towards greatness this postseason when the Bulls have to match their now dizzying expectations.

Derrick Rose is the main story in the NBA right now. But that could all change in the postseason where the other great players wish to write their own stories and cement their own legacies. I'll concede Dwight for MVP. Give me the Finals MVP instead.

McDuh
McDuh

haha, LeBron really? Watch Rose at the end of game actually finish off good teams and watch LeBron look like a deer in headlights. Where's Kobe writer? Do his stats not work for your argument?

Chad saying the "cruch time" argument is invalid based on stats obviously isn't watching Rose, stats don't win game. What have LeBron's better stats gotten him when he needed that one shot?

Anyway, as a Bulls fan, a few weeks ago I liked Rose for MVP after watching him play every night but I'd lean more towards Howard now.

TimJ
TimJ

Interesting comment at the end, especially in light of MJ saying that if Rose didn't win the award, he'd know how MJ felt all those years. I guess not then.

Joshwa
Joshwa

i think its come to a point where people just write articles about rose because they know a lot of people will read it.

Cad2010
Cad2010

Even the crunch time argument is invalid for Rose. In 123 minutes of "crunch time" (defined as 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points) Derrick Rose is shooting only 37.5% overall and only 25% from 3. That's awful, and some of the least efficient numbers across the board in crunch time. There's more over at 82games.com.