When Derrick Rose asked before the season, “Why can’t I be the MVP?”, I was shocked. Why would such a humble player inject himself into talks about the league’s best players before even playing a preseason game in just his third NBA season? Then I thought to myself, ‘Why can’t he be the best player in the NBA?’ ‘Why can’t he win the league’s MVP?’ A 62-20 regular season team record (3-1 in the playoffs so far) and 25 points and 8 assists per game later, DRose is widely regarded as the favorite to win the 2010-11 NBA MVP award. The Bulls finished the regular season with the best overall record, despite starting center Joakim Noah and power forward Carlos Boozer missing a combined 71 games. Rose was a large reason why. There are some detractors (see: Skip Bayless, John Hollinger and Colin Cowherd), but it has yet to slow down Rose or sway the players and coaches who have repeatedly sung his praises this season. Not that any of the naysayers matter to Rose; he’s only interested in the Bulls piling up W’s and he and his teammates getting better. If Rose wins the MVP, he will make some history as well (according to NBA.com):
He would become the youngest NBA MVP ever, 6 months younger than Bullets great Wes Unseld, who turned 23 shortly before winning the award in 1969. Rose turned 22 on October 4.
He would become the first NBA MVP who was still “chronologically eligible” to play in the NCAA tournament. If he had stayed at the University of Memphis, he would be a senior by now.
Rose would become the first NBA MVP in 38 years who never received a single vote on a previous NBA MVP ballot. The last guy to accomplish that feat? Boston’s Dave Cowens, in 1973.
Some give new head coach Tom Thibodeau and his defensive scheme more credit for the Bulls success this season than Rose’s play. Some even largely credit Luol Deng’s “improved play” for the Bulls turnaround (Is it a turnaround when the team was .500 the season before, or is it just getting better?) this year. However, I don’t think Thibodeau’s scheme and Deng’s good year would mean much without their MVP-caliber point guard. In my opinion, Derrick Rose is the MVP and it’s not even close, all due apologies to Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James. Rose might not win the award in a landslide, but it is indeed nice to know that he would make a little history while doing so.