Derrick Rose

2011 NBA MVP Award: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks


The NBA Realist: LeBron James

Everyone has their own criterion when choosing their 2011 NBA MVP. Some believe that it should be awarded to the best player on the team with the best record, while others believe that it should be given to the “most irreplaceable”. Me? I believe that the MVP should be awarded to the best player in the NBA unless there is a compelling enough reason otherwise. And the best player in the NBA is still LeBron James.

During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s I watched as the game’s best player, Michael Jordan, repeatedly got robbed of multiple MVP awards in three separate occassions:

1.) 1990 vs. Magic Johnson – Jordan was the best player in the game and most irreplaceable for his team, but the Lakers had the best record in the NBA, and Jordan was still battling the stigma of having never won a championship.

2.) 1993 vs. Charles Barkley – Jordan was the best player in the game, and arguably the most irreplaceable. However, the Suns had a better record than the Bulls, the media was tired of voting for the same player, and Charles was simply funnier.

3.) 1997 vs. Karl Malone – No logical reason whatsoever. The only possible explanation is that 1000+ media voters collectively decided to celebrate “opposite day” at the exact same moment. Michael Jordan was the best player in the NBA, most irreplaceable, led his team to an astonishing 69 wins and the best record in the league, and was the most popular athlete on the planet. So what did the voters do? They inexplicably awarded the MVP to Karl Malone…….absolutely baffling.

I know that Lebron James is the most hated player in the NBA, and his free agent dalliance from 2010 has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. However, he is nonetheless still the best player in the league, and as my fellow Chasing 23 Editor Brown Mamba eluded to in an earlier article, has been taken for granted and penalized for consistently playing at an incredibly high level that would have otherwise compelled voters to go ga-ga had it been anyone else.

For the 3rd straight season, LeBron James has averaged at least 25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, but this time shot an astounding 51% from the field. To give you a bit of perspective, the last wing player to shoot 51% from the field while scoring at least 25 points per game was Michael Jordan in 1992 and trust me folks – finishing top 5 in scoring AND shooting 51% as a Wing is an uncanny feat that has rarely occurred in NBA history, and is indicative of player’s invaluable ability to get easy baskets at a high frequency.

Moreover, let’s not overlook the fact that Lebron was the Alpha Dog on a Miami Heat team that overcame early chemistry issues, questionable coaching decisions, but still proceeded to win 58 games, finish with the 3rd best record in the NBA, and land only 4 games behind the league leading Chicago Bulls.

I know that Derrick Rose (along with Natalie Portman and Snooki) has become America’s Sweetheart in 2011, and will be the popular choice for MVP given his loveable personality and favorable demeanor, but many of the same arguments that were made for justifying Charles Barkely as MVP in 1993, and Karl Malone as MVP in 1997, are once again being used to justify Derrick Rose over Lebron James in 2011.

There is no clear cut criteria when choosing the MVP. However, mine starts with Best Player in the game.

Honorable mention: Derrick Rose


Brown Mamba: LeBron James

My support of Lebron for MVP has been well-documented on this site. I have to admit — prior to writing this, I was nearly swayed by the Bulls’ finish to the season, winning 62 games and the no. 1 seed in the East – both of which were impressive accomplishments. Still, when I looked at LeBron’s complete body of work, I had no choice but to stick with my earlier position (and it was by a hair). Lebron is simply putting up stats only previously seen by the likes of Jordan (and perhaps in certain years, Magic and Oscar), and doing it with an ease that has never been witnessed – no pun intended.

How many games have we seen Lebron put up a 30-8-8 line where it didn’t seem like he even dominated? I think the ease with which Lebron is able to achieve his greatness, is in part due to the lack of support for his MVP campaign this year (along with the fact that voters don’t like to see back-to-back NBA MVPs and there is an overwhelmingly negative sentiment towards Lebron and the Heat currently). His overall stats were very reminiscent of his first two MVP campaigns and his post All-star numbers bordered on legendary, as he averaged 28/8/6 while shooting a blistering 56% from the field.

For those who argue that Rose’s Bulls took the season series vs. Lebron, well, it wasn’t because of any lack of performance on Lebron’s end, as he averaged 28/9/6 while shooting 56% in those games.

The primary crux of the argument is really that Rose won 4 more games with a team many argue is inferior. Are the Bulls inferior in talent? At the top, definitely, as Wade and Bosh are better than any 2 or 3 player that the Bulls have. The case gets a little bit more convoluted when looking at players 4 through 10. Still — it must be considered that the Heat were less a great team as opposed to a great assemblage of top tier talent. This is important, and despite the great confusion in roles between Lebron v. Wade, and Chris Bosh v. himself, they still managed to win 58 games.

The other factor here is the Tom Thibodeau effect. There is no doubt in my mind that Thibs played a huge role in the Bulls’ and Rose’s success this year – so it would be a mistake to over attribute the Bulls’ success this year to primarily Rose’s dominance. Overall, this argument gets extremely close because Rose was the best player on the team with the best record in the NBA this year. However, for my money, LeBron James was still the most valuable.

Honorable mention: Derrick Rose


Dave Sheridan: Derrick Rose

Employing one word to describe the performance submitted by Derrick Rose, the most apt word would be: sublime.

Derrick Rose is a once in a generation talent that has managed to fuse personal modesty with audacious physical talent. Rose, a native of Chicago, is the Bulls franchise player. The city of Chicago was gifted with Michael Jordan, and now has in its city limits another player capable of transcending the game of basketball.

Rose’s drives to the rim combine strength, speed, courage and virtuosity. Rose’s handle is in the Marques Haynes/Bob Cousy/Pete Maravich/Isiah Thomas category. Rose holds the ball on a tight string, and the crowd, and his teammates hang on his next move. The orb in his hand seems to defy the laws of physics as his body goes one way – the ball tantalizing the rapacious nature of the defensive player with a sudden flash to the left or the right –  and as spectators, we’re unsure how D. Rose was able to convince the defender that he was going left when the ball was rocketing to the right.

Was it prestidigitation?

Sitting at home, one rushes to rewind Rose’s slight of hand illusion and still it’s not quite possible to ascertain the nuts and bolts of his dexterity. How was he able to do that? After repeated views of Rose’s shock and awe ballhandling, the DVR offers no further clues to Rose’s brilliance. The only way to properly view Rose’s genius is to record him by using a motion picture camera that can capture a hummingbird’s beating wings.

Before another long NBA season started, the Bulls were not considered viable contenders to the Eastern Conference crown. Under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau and the unparalleled play of Derrick Rose – while overcoming injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah – the Bulls have made a city believe and a league take notice of a team that wasn’t constructed by virtue of Dwyane Wade’s hypnotic powers of persuasion.

The Bulls were bit players, in NBA teams’ gang bang seduction of LeBron James, and it’s been written that Derrick Rose was less than elated at the prospect of The King joining his team. If LeBron James had decided to bring his talents to the Windy City, would basketball fans have observed the true artistry and brilliance of Derrick Rose?

Derrick Rose was the outlier. Derrick Rose opted not to beseech The King with a request for his services. D Rose opted to build a team in Chicago that would be known as Derrick Rose’s team. In an age of Big Three’s, Derrick Rose is a throwback.

For that alone, we should name Derrick Rose – the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. But that isn’t enough. Rose’s transcendent game, and his team’s rise to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 62-20 record, has given him the rightful claim to MVP.

Honorable Mention: LeBron James/Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Manu Ginobili


Marcas Grant Derrick Rose

With Derrick Rose, the Bulls are the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Without Derrick Rose? Da Bulls are hanging on to one of the lower seeds in the playoffs. If we’re talking the value of a player to his team, I don’t know how you can get better than that. Despite scoring 25 points per night, Rose still managed to finish the season in the top 10 in assists. But in the clutch is where Rose really shined this year, cementing himself as the Bulls’ go-to guy with the clock winding down. Dwight Howard had a legitimate claim, because he did so much with spotty help around him. But Orlando’s inconsistency throughout the season doomed him.


E-Dog: Derrick Rose

Remember that, at the beginning of this season, no one picked the Bulls to finish higher than 4th in the East, and everyone considered them to still be a major piece away from being a true contender. For the Bulls to win 21 more games than last year and exceed expectations by as much as they have is due mainly to 2 leaders. One is Tom Thibodeau, who instilled the defensive system that the Bulls have executed to devastating effect. The other is Rose, who this year elevated his offensive game to a truly elite level while simultaneously improving his defensive. Not only that, he took leadership over the team (remember when he was considered too lacking in assertiveness to be a leader?) and bought into Thibodeau’s approach from the outset, setting the tone for the rest of the team to fall into place. All this is before even mentioning how Rose kept the team together and in contention through the injuries to Boozer (their headline free-agent pick-up from last summer) and Noah. Stan Van Gundy was right that Rose has been anointed as the MVP well before the end of the season. There’s a very good reason for that: he is this year’s


14 Responses to “2011 NBA MVP Award: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks”

  1. Good arguments can be made for both Rose and James, but I feel that the argument many that chose James use is fallacious at best. The argument that I hear most for LBJ’s MVP is the same one Realist makes, and that is that the award should go to the best player in the NBA.

    Now, correct me if I am wrong, but this isn’t the MBP award, the Most Bestest Player, it is the MVP, or Most Valuable Player.

    LBJ is arguably the best player in the league, and even if people don’t like him, I doubt you will find him outside the top 3 in even the most steadfast James haters list. Unfortunately, the MVP isn’t for the best player, it is for the player most valuable to his team, as judged across the league. You can make a convincing argument for Rose, James, Kobe… I even heard a halfway decent rant in favor of Kevin Love… but the player most valuable to his team, as judged across the entire league, is definitely Rose.

    Posted by drubacca117 | May 2, 2011, 8:59 pm
    • Nope i disagree with you b/c Dwight Howard should have gotten it. Many D Rose supporters would mention the 62 wins as a major point, yet they fail to realize that teams win games. Especially when you have a team like the bulls in which they are a grind-it-out team that emphasizes defensive and team effort. So that makes D rose have less of an impact on the 62 wins and most statistics point toward Dwight Howard. Even though statistically Dwight did not have the best statistics, the only one who had the better stats was lebron and he is automatically disqualified b/c he teamed up with d wade and did not have that stellar of a season. Kobe is overrated and his best years are well behind him and only looking at Kobe’s points total largely overlooks the facts that he actually hurts his team by shooting such a low percentage with such high FGA. Last but not least, we can always use a bit of imagination and imagine the Bulls w/o D Rose; they would still be a .500 team. Imagine the Magics w/o Dwight Howard; they would be the Charlotte Bobcats.

      Posted by Wijf | June 11, 2012, 1:08 am
  2. Ginobili for honorable mention? This is hilarious. The same ginobili that led his team to a first round loss to an 8 seed.

    The problem with Lebron vs. Rose, is that Lebron is better individually obviously, but when incorporated into the team concept that we know as basketball, Lebron still doesn’t get it. He still doesn’t understand how to play good team ball with pounding the ball. Rose, on the other hand, does get it, and has bought into what his coach tells him, unlike Lebron throughout his entire career. With that being said, you just cannot choose Lebron over Rose.

    Rose shouldn’t win either. Kobe is still the most skilled player in the game by a wide margin, and is still continuously underrated and underappreciated, sadly. But, Phil decided to rest Kobe more this year to save him for the playoffs, which was smart. Kobe is doing well, but his team is just not stepping it up so far. Thus, Howard is the only choice left to win MVP, mostly be default. Howard had a dominant year, not his fault his GM sucks.

    Posted by boyer | May 3, 2011, 9:22 am
    • The MVP has nothing to do with the playoffs, where Ginobili played with an elbow the size of a grapefruit and missed Game 1 because of the injury. The Spurs achieved the best regular season record in the Western Conference, and Ginobili was the team’s best player. A player from the Spurs seems to deserve an Honorable Mention nod.

      Phil decided to rest Kobe? Uh … Phil didn’t have a choice. Kobe is limited what he can do in practice, and his body is falling prey to the ravages of time. This was not one of Kobe’s most statistically impressive seasons, his team clearly struggled at times and he is losing some of his physical skills. As Kenny Smith said last night on TNT, “Kobe no longer possesses the quickness to drive past people.”

      The success of the Lakers, fairly or unfairly, reflects on Bryant, and not Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum or Matt Barnes. Most people feel the Lakers underperformed in the regular season, which lessens the strength of Kobe’s MVP candidacy.

      Dwight Howard is a legitimate MVP candidate, but Rose’s team finished atop the Eastern Conference, and Rose played without Boozer and Noah for significant stretches of the season.

      If anything, the NBA MVP should be viewed as a team award. Unlike in baseball, where the award has been given to a player (Andre Dawson) who plays on a losing team, that has not been the case with the NBA.

      As much as everyone wants to laud the defense played by the Bulls, Chicago is not a powerhouse on offense. The Bulls rely on Rose to be their catalyst on O.

      Posted by Dave Sheridan | May 4, 2011, 2:16 pm
    • Rose playing team ball? He takes 50% more shots than the next guy on his team despite being one of Chicagos worst shooters and his assist/TO is terrible for a point guard. So it’s not like he is sacrificing much for the team. The rest of the team contributes what makes the Bulls good (defense and rebounding) and Rose gets all the stats. Nice gig if you can get it.

      Posted by bla | May 5, 2011, 6:45 am
    • To say that Lebron James “doesn’t get” team basketball just tells me you haven’t been watching the Heat this year. Besides being their lead scorer, all the guy does is pass, set screens and move without the ball. He’s had to play 3 different positions per game all year. He happened to have led his team in assists, steals, and finished second in rebounds. I don’t know what else could be asked of him. He’s working every minute he’s on the floor.

      Posted by Luckeeloo | May 5, 2011, 11:47 pm
    • he doesnt know how to play good team ball? really? examples? i love rose and lebron but how can you say lebron doesnt play good team ball? im shocked. i know im a year late but wow

      Posted by george | April 26, 2012, 12:09 pm
  3. Where’s Dirk Nowitzki on the list? Not even an honorable mention? Dallas was 55-18 with him and a legit championship contender. Without him they were a listless 2-7 and had no identity. His second best teammate is Jason Terry. We keep talking about how the Mavs are going to lose in the playoffs because they’re a one man show. If the definition of MVP is the player most integral to his team’s success you have to consider the big German-without his contributions they’ve got a top 3 draft pick and not a 3 seed. Lebron is clearly the best player, but without him the Heat still have Wade and Bosh. Without Kobe the Lakers still have Gasol, Odom and Bynum. Thibodeau’s defense has been as responsible for the Bull’s success as Rose and with Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah they could still field a potent team without him. The only player who is close to as integral is Dwight Howard, but I can’t help but feel he doesn’t play to his potential a good chunk of the time, you can’t get him the ball at the end of games, and the Magic underperformed with a worse record in an easier conference than the Mavs. Dirk is 10th in PER, one spot behind Rose and 4 points behind Lebron, but it’s hard to imagine any player being more integral to his team’s success than Dirk is. And in a year where there’s no obvious MVP candidate (with all due respect to Derrick Rose, the media darling) I give it to the German by a small margin over Howard and Rose.

    Posted by Lochpster | May 3, 2011, 11:28 pm
  4. When I see Derrick Rose, I see Russell Westbrooke. Two really good young guards, with flaws. I don’t know that Rose was the most valuable to his team, I think you can make a very strong case for Dirk being at least as valuable. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are more valuable, in my opinion. And yeah, LeBron is probably the best player in the league. Heck, in the series right now, Chicago only has one of the four best players going.

    Rose isn’t a good shooter and turns the ball over too much. He does some things exceptionally well, and is incredibly athletic, but that doesn’t equal MVP to me. I think Thibs’ defense was more responsible for Chicago’s record.

    Posted by Braktooth | May 26, 2011, 3:53 pm
  5. Dave Sheridan Please. Rose is very good. But his game is NOT transcendent. You wrote, “Derrick Rose is a once in a generation talent that has managed to fuse personal modesty with audacious physical talent. Rose, a native of Chicago, is the Bulls franchise player. The city of Chicago was gifted with Michael Jordan, and now has in its city limits another player capable of transcending the game of basketball.” STOP. He is a good player that is no better that CP3, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook. Again, this kid is good, but I hope the people can reason for themselves and not be forced into hoisting this kid up more that he should be. Its ok to love his humbleness and modesty but I take into account first and foremost his bball skill set. It’s very good but Transcendent, you better get a clear understanding of that definition.

    Posted by no fan be objective | May 27, 2011, 9:29 pm
  6. I think we now see how far Drose has to go still after lebron made him look like a Dleague player. I mean, thibs, letting 1 of your worst shooter on the team take 29 and 28 shots in game 4 and game -what 8 for 28 and 9 for 29 -ouch. At some point, doesnt the coach need to reign in the guy and say, ok, PASS the ball to your teammates… Rose has alot to go still

    Posted by Dom | June 2, 2011, 2:15 pm
  7. Ok, I just have a question for everyone. Where in the MVP name does it state it is for the most valuable player to a team? I thought it stood for Most Valuable Player?

    Posted by Big Nasty | June 2, 2011, 8:28 pm

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