The Case for Derrick Rose
February 28, 2011 Leave a comment
All season long, media outlets across the nation have been trumpeting the case for Miami’s LeBron James to take home his third Most Valuable Player award, regardless of who is playing on his roster with him. It’s an arguable point, but the best example for the value of James, you need not look further then how the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing this year. Its the same roster James took to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, just without him.
However, there is a stronger candidate playing in the same Conference as James’ Heat:
The Bulls made a large splash in free agency last summer, locking up power forward Carlos Boozer to create a dominate inside tandem with young center Joakim Noah. However, both Noah and Boozer have been battling various injuries all season long, and, until recently, the games in which the two have actually played together in at full health have been few and far between.
Regardless, the Bulls enter play this week with a record of 40-17. That’s good enough for third in the East, and only two games behind the Boston Celtics for the best record in the conference. Also, those 40 wins are one win shy of matching their win total from last season.
There are 25 games remaining this season.
The biggest reason for the Bulls’ success this year is the improvement of Derrick Rose. Plain and simple. From last year to this year, Rose has improved his points-per-game, (up to 24.9), assists-per-game (up to 8.1), rebounds (up to 4.4) and his three-point shooting (35.0% this year), all while manning the point guard position. Furthermore, he’s played his best basketball this season against the best teams in the NBA, averaging 25+ points-per-game against the likes of Boston, San Antonio, and James’ Miami Heat. In fact, Rose’s Bulls are 2-0 against the Heat this season, and Rose has averaged 30 points and seven assists.
It is impossible to watch a Bulls game this year and not see first hand the impact Rose has had on this team’s improvement. Does a healthy Boozer and Noah help the Bulls? Absolutely, no question. But, are they the difference between the Bulls being a middle of the road Eastern Conference playoff team and a top three power? No. That is all Derrick Rose.
No Rose would mean nothing special in Chicago. No James in Miami would mean more Wade and Bosh.
Don’t forget that.