Derrick Rose: MVP?

Brian Rogers, Contributor

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Lebron James. Kobe Bryant. Dirk Nowitzki. Steve Nash. Derrick Rose? The list of former MVP winners is a Who’s Who of future Hall of Famers. Does Derrick Rose truly belong on that list?
Over the years, Chicago has watched Derrick Rose mature from a budding high school star, to a freshmen phenom in Memphis, almost winning a national championship, to a number one pick in the NBA draft, to becoming the go-to guy on a nightly basis for the storied Chicago Bulls. He was the Rookie-of-the-Year, an All-Star in his second year and recorded his first career triple-double on Dr. Martin Luther King Day against the Memphis Grizzlies. At the age of 22, he has displayed seemingly inexhaustible energy, drive, heart, leadership, and an uncanny knack for knocking down clutch shots down the stretch.
His game has improved drastically since his rookie campaign, and his experience winning the gold medal at the World Championship with Team USA has boosted his game up another level. His ball distribution has improved, as has his maturity and ability to run the floor. He is a more consistent scorer and has carried the team on his back during stretches, especially with the injuries to Boozer and Noah.
There have been knocks against him. His defense has been questioned and it is said that he doesn’t get to the free-throw line enough. These are areas that he has worked on, and his improvement has been evident this season. One thing that has never been questioned, though, is his athleticism. He has tremendous speed and an incredible leaping ability that few in the league can match. His vertical exploits are regularly featured on nationwide sports replays.
So where does Rose stack up with the elite this season, and does he have a legitimate chance at being the MVP? He currently ranks 7th in points per game (24.5) 9th in assists per game (8.1) and among guards in the league he ranks 1st in points + rebounds + assists per game with an astounding 37.3 per game. He is undoubtedly one of the league’s best players.
There’s no question that Rose is a special talent. He was the number one pick for a reason. He fills the seats at the United Center and he fills the city with pride through his outstanding play, his determination, by the way he carries himself, and through his will to win. He is quiet and reserved and doesn’t display the enormous ego that has become so common with today’s players. More importantly, the Bulls are winning. They have been on a roll and are tough to beat at home. Rose is the main reason why, keeping the team together through adversity.
Will he win the MVP this season? He’s close to being the number one player in the NBA. He is the Bulls franchise and the team’s most valuable player, but we have yet to see his best game. He is a young player, and he is on the threshold of super-stardom. With the right development and talent surrounding him, he will be the league MVP before long.
Since Jordan’s retirement, the city of Chicago has waited for another superstar caliber player to come along, someone to root for, and someone to spark our hopes for another championship run. That player has arrived in Derrick Rose.