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Derrick Rose Might Be The NBA MVP, But Has Yet To Be "Elite"....

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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In an attempt to move on from the Jay Cutler hysteria the last four days have given us, I will begin by stating to my reading public....it is time to move on.  We as a city need to realize that football season is over, and we need to look toward our other teams in the city to provide us with our sports commentary for the next few months.  That is until we can start debating who hits in the six hole for the Cubs and are the White Sox truly "all in" as they have stated on their billboards around town.
 
If you did not know the Chicago Bulls are sitting pretty as the third best team in the Eastern Conference.  Only trailing the likes of the Boston Celtics and the big three down in Miami, the Chicago Bulls who have only played a small number of games at full strength have somehow found a way to win 31 of their first 45 games.  If you are searching for a reason why the Bulls are fairing so well this season with injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, you do not need to look any further than Derrick Rose.  The number one overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft this season has developed leaps and bounds much faster than expected, and has the country debating Rose for the NBA MVP award.  
 
Now while the MVP race is still so far away with only a little over half the season done and gone with, Derrick Rose has proven without a shadow of a doubt that the Bulls made the right choice in picking him over standout forward Michael Beasley from Kansas State in the 2008 NBA Draft.  However with half the season over and possibly being named the first starting Chicago Bull to play on a All Star team since Michael Jordan, there is one label that Rose still has yet to achieve.
 
All Star = Check
 
MVP = Maybe
 
Elite Point Guard = No
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As much of a competitor Derrick Rose is, I believe even he would agree that placing the "elite" distinction on his resume is not warranted yet.  It can be debated the rest of the season if Rose can top LeBron James for the MVP award and it can be said the Rose is the best point guard in the NBA.  However to earn the "elite" distinction when people talk discuss your name, you need to have some sort of playoff success.  Rose does not have any.   
 
There is a huge difference between good, great and elite.  While Derrick Rose is without a doubt a good point guard and a great team player, he has yet to lead his team to anything outside regular season success.  This season Rose is showcasing the same intensity he always has by not being afraid to drive to the basket, while his steady improvement on the defensive end is getting better with each season.  In fact when the Bulls decided to hire Tom Thibodeau as their 18th head coach in team history, that was the best hire when it comes to the improvement of the Bulls up and coming superstar point guard.  Coming out of Memphis at the age of 19 the major criticism of Rose was his defense needed much improvement.  In his third year in the NBA, Rose is no longer a horrible defender but he has shown great improvement in that department.  Only his desire to improve on that end of his game will tell the tale of how good Rose can be in that phase of his game.   
 
Outside his improving defense and the jump in Rose's offensive numbers from last season, the one aspect that I have been the most impressed with is his leadership.  For a 22 year old to take the bull by the horns (no pun intended) like he has shows his intent on making his hometown team the best in the NBA.  Obviously Rose is the type of person who is never satisfied and always deflects personal accomplishments in favor of whether or not the team won the game.  Another great thing about Rose is he is the total opposite of what many classify the NBA of being, a league of rich thugs.  If you do not believe me, it is true.  The NBA has an image problem as it has had for several years.  Among Gilbert Arenas gun issues to the brawl in Detroit to referees who got caught in a gambling scandal, the NBA has had many bumps in the road as far as the image of their game.  While that image has surely become much cleaner than it once was, Rose is a prime example of a role model in the NBA.  Rose is the gym rat who watches tape and while on the court is not all about gaining the spotlight.  He would take wins and titles over MVP awards and commercials.   
 
Derrick Rose is a breath of fresh air for the NBA.
 
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While this is Rose's third year in the league, he is still not an elite player in the NBA.  It is hard to classify who is the best at their individual position on the floor, but it is far easier to define who is an elite player.  While many have put Rose over the likes of Derron Williams (Utah), Rajon Rondo (Boston) and Chris Paul (New Orleans) as the best point guard in the NBA, all three of those have won at least a playoff series....something Rose has yet to do.  Rose has yet to take the Bulls past the first round of the playoffs losing to both the Celtics and Cavaliers in the first rounds the past two seasons.  As much as Rose has produced in the playoffs (last year averaging 26.8 pts/game), he still has yet to show he can take a team over the top and have success in the postseason.   
 
It is tough to label someone as elite when they have no accomplishments outside just making the dance.
 
You can tag Derrick Rose with all the titles in the world including MVP candidate and Eastern Conference All Star, but until Rose wins a playoff series you cannot call him an elite point guard.  The experiences Derrick Rose has gained over the past three seasons only help his development.  From playing in the postseason to being a member of gold medal participant on TEAM USA in the FIBA World Championships this past summer, Rose continues to get closer to his personal peak as a basketball player.  Without question Derrick Rose is on his way to a great career in the NBA if he can stay on the same path he is on, but by no means can you put Derrick Rose in that "elite" status.
 
Yet
 
-RoCk
 
John "Rock" Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and host of The Rock Report on WSCR 670AM The Score
 
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley
 
You can follow Rock at twitter.com/RockMamola

 
Catch The Rock Report THIS FRIDAY at 10PM on WSCR 670 The Score and 670TheScore.com

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22 Comments

Dan Jones said:

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By your definition Kevin Durant, the youngest scoring champion in the history of the NBA, is not an elite player because he has never won a playoff series. Absurd claim. Derrick Rose has led the Bulls to consecutive playoff appearances in his first two years in the league, and tied Abdul-Jabaar for the most points ever scored in a playoff game. He took the Boston Celtics, who were the defending NBA champions, to a 7 game series as an 8th seed while averaging 19 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds a game. AS A ROOKIE. He is easily the most athletic point guard in the league, can get to the basket at will, and at the present moment has the Injury-riddled Chicago Bulls sitting 3rd in the East. Your seriously discounting his elite talent because he was unable to lead the Bulls to wins over the Celtics or Cavs in the last two years? Thats an impossible standard. By multiple accounts Rose is leading the MVP race at this point of the season. To suggest that one can be the most valuable player in the league and yet not be "elite" is a terrible argument.

Rock Mamola said:

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Dan,

Durant not elite.....great scorer, but not by any means an elite player. It's hard to call a player elite when they have yet to do anything of significance when it matters. In the postseason.

The Bulls were 82-82 in Rose's first two years as a player losing both times in the first round.....is that really an accomplishment that would make a player elite?

Let me ask you this.....if Rose leads the Bulls to another one and done this post season (which is possible because they don't match up well vs. possible lower seeds i.e. Charlotte).....three straight years of one and dones is not a sign of an elite player.

Thanks for the thoughts...

-RoCk

Dan Jones said:

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You're acting as if the Bulls got blown out in both playoff appearances. That they took Boston to 7 games is pretty incredible considering the team and coaches Rose had to work with. He had an incredible series against Boston and posted above Average numbers against Cleveland, both times the Bulls had no business even making the playoffs but Rose got them there. As for your question about this year's playoffs, I think it's doubtful that the Bulls go out in the first round. Both losses to the Bobcats were close games and occurred when the Bulls were dealing with significant injuries to their front court. If such a loss did occur, you could hardly place the blame on Rose. Just what exactly do you want from him? He carries that team every single night. The blame should be placed on his teammates for not providing more scoring and hitting the open jumpers that he creates for them every time he drives. Considering that team that Rose has had around him this season and the results he has gotten out of them, it's hard to say that he's not elite. You seem to be discounting the accomplishments of an 82 game regular season in favor of focusing on the fact that Rose, as a first and second year point guard, was unable to lead his weak team to huge upsets over 2 of the best teams in the NBA. I understand and respect the fact that great players step up in the playoffs, but it's not as if Rose disappeared in those series. He stepped up big time and did as much as one player could possibly do. The fact remains that basketball is the ultimate team game and if you don't have the pieces around you needed to win, it's almost impossible to advance in the postseason. You also said that Rose hasn't done anything of significance in the post season. Did you watch that Boston series? He was by far the best player on the court in several of those games, and he was only a rookie. As I said before, he tied Kareem for most points ever scored in a playoff debut. Is that not a significant accomplishment? If you took Rose off the team, what do you think their record would be at this point? Maybe 10 or 15 wins, max.


Rock Mamola said:

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In my mind, an elite player is one who takes a team on his back and simply cannot be stopped. The absolute best players at their position with some sort of resume. Leading a team to 82-82 in the first two seasons of a career with two one and dones is not a sign of an elite player to me.

I'm not insulting his play at all this season, in fact if you read the piece.....I complemented him throughout.

However, to be an elite player you need to do something of significance in your career.....something Rose has yet to do. I'm not saying he will never be an elite player at all.

You keep bringing up the playoff debut game....yes....great game and a two point win. However look at the next two games of that series. 10 points and 9 points.....that doesn't happen to elite players.

Look at how they matchup vs. the Bobcats for example....the Bulls don't match up well. I'm not saying it will happen, but it could happen.

Thanx again!

-RoCk

Larson7 said:

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"Look at how they matchup vs. the Bobcats for example....the Bulls don't match up well."

The supporting arguments in this article are intellectually stimulating to say the least.

Rock Mamola said:

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it's amazing...because I'm not the only one that thinks this....

Check out KC Johnson's mailbag.... (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/chi-bulls-ask-kc-johnson-jan20,0,6064135,full.story)

What's your take on the Bulls bringing their A Game against elite teams like the Celtics, Lakers and Heat but continuing to lay eggs against teams like the Nets, Bobcats and Sixers? Tony, Kabul, Afghanistan

As for the Bobcats, this sounds crazy, but the Bulls don't match up well against them and perhaps match up better against teams like the Celtics and Lakers. The Bobcats are loaded with athleticism, particularly at the wings, and switch a lot on defense. With limited options with Boozer and Noah out, the Bulls struggled.


Again....not saying it will happen....but it could. Who knows....we're still a long way away.

PureBwa said:

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So what happens when two 'elite' players go up against each other? Does the one who loses also lose his 'elite' status?

BTW - "I'm not saying it will happen, but it could happen." Way to go out on a limb with that prediction..

Dan Jones said:

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Addendum to my post: Rose tied Abdul-Jabaar for most points (36) in a playoff debut, not overall playoff game.

Tab said:

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Rock....

I'll post a link to my love-fest for DRose from December at the end of the comment, but I'll skip to the most important part of the homework that put Rose's numbers this season into HISTORICAL perspective: only SIX players in NBA history have averaged 25 points and 8 assists per game. You can see the list, five of whom are in the Hall of Fame (or will be).

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/daily-chicago-sports-tab/2010/12/is-derrick-rose-the-nbas-most-improved-player.html

HOWEVER, in the not-pumping-my-own-article portion of the comments...

Have the Celtics ever looked to Rajon Rondo to lead their team in scoring AND assists? No. He's got three superstar veteran LEADERS on the roster to give the ball to. IMO, Rose is more elite than Rondo.

Paul is the standard, so I'm not going to question him. And while I agree Williams is a more mature point guard, he has also played with a better supporting cast his entire career in Utah than Rose had in Chicago before this year... Carlos Boozer anyone?

Point is... there aren't that many good true point guards in the NBA, and Rose has not only elevated his game with career high assists numbers and improved shooting, but he's also a rare PG that's being asked to lead his team in scoring.

Rock Mamola said:

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He has yet to do anything to consider him an elite player in the NBA. Win a playoff series first, then we can start talking about the elite tag.

Also keep this in mind....it's very hard to call a player elite in only his third year in the association.

Shameless self promotion....but WELCOMED!

-RoCk

nitric0 said:

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Are you telling me, Jordan in his third year was not an "elite player" 37ppg/5apg/5rpg because he didn't WIN a playoff series? Did you just say Durant isn't an elite player? This has to be a troll article..

Rock Mamola said:

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By calling Kevin Durant an elite player....you discredit the term elite. The bigger problem is we term good players great and great players elite too often.

I'm not ripping Rose by any means, I just think it's tough to label a player who is still getting better in all phases of his game as an "elite" player....

Thanks for the comments

-Rock

Larson7 said:

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Wayne Gretzky, The pretty good one, NOT the great one

The 90's bulls, not a dynasty, just really lucky

Walter Payton, a lazy slouch

Peyton Manning should take a note from Jimmy Clausen's perfect mechanics

Barry Bonds, not a power hitter

John Stockton's selfishness derailed the real 90's dynasty

Shut up Joakim, Cleveland is AWESOME

Todd Collins, the next young gun

CJ2K- Chris Johnson's run to mediocrity

Jerry Rice - not an elite receiver

Usain Bolt isn't that fast, I drive a Yarus

Real Housewives of Orange County will have higher ratings then Super Bowl 45

Adam Pac-man Jones is actually a role model

Barry Sanders should have retired, he wasn't that exciting

ESPN: the inferior sports reporting television network

Why the Bulls should trade Rose, Noah, and Boozer for J.R. Smith

My new favorite Basketball team is the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Brian Bosworth for president

Tiger Woods should shoot lefty, if he wants to ever win again

Why Ray Allen should work on his joke of a Free-Throw

Willie Roaf should have played shortstop for the White Socks

Chicago doesn't deserve the Bears: why they should re-locate to Rancho Cucamunga, California.

Why The Cubs should relocate to the Loop

I would trade Patrick Kane for a PS3

OJ Simpson: an American hero

Here is why Matt Dodge deserves the NCAA's Heisman Trophy

The forward pass should be removed from the NFL's rule book

Why Devin Hester should be speaker of the house

How the MLB will benefit from the Haitian Earthquake

Why Michael Jordan should have player for square and not disgraced the city of Chicago

Just some ideas... figured you might want some more controversial, contrasting, unsupported non-sense.

Rock Mamola said:

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wow....

Ryan Borja said:

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I respect your opinion but i think you are wrong.
It takes a team to win playoff series. Not one player.
Its why when Shaq left LA the lakers struggled untill they got Gasol. Cause no matter how good or "elite" Kobe was, it takes help to win in the playoffs.
It wasn't Rose's fault the Bulls lost in the playoffs.
I hear what your saying about Rose, that he needs to do a little more for you to call him elite. And thats fine I agree somewhat. But to say someone isn't elite because their team hasn't won in the playoffs is wrong.
What is Robert Horry elite?
Good player who hit some big shots. But if he wasn't on those teams I'm sure they would have been fine.
You take DRose off the Bulls they don't even make the playoffs
To me someone who is elite is someone who can take over the game whenever they want. Even when the other team knows what you gonna do its hard too stop. That to me is elite. That to me describes DRose.
Your telling me if Rose was on Boston instead of Rondo that they wouldn't win still because Rose isn't "elite"
Your dumb if you think so.
Bos wins because there a good TEAM not just because Rondo is elite.

Rock Mamola said:

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Ryan,

Thanks for your comments...

This discussion arose when I got into a discussion with a friend who said Rose is an elite player in the NBA. I asked him why and he really couldn't answer.

I asked him what has he done in his career where you can say he is elite (meaning best of the best)....he couldn't point to one specific reason.

He is a good player who is getting better with every season, you can't all that elite. He hasn't won in the postseason, can you call that elite?

It's not that Robert Horry was a better player than D-Rose, maybe I worded it wrong......

What I am saying is the rest of the season when we discuss where D-Rose fits in the scope of the NBA.....he needs to win in the postseason. If he does, then you can start calling an athlete elite.....the fact is he hasn't

I'm not dogging him, he is very deserving of his all star nod and could win the MVP (even though I still think he won't)....

but right now, he's not an elite player because his resume says so.

Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Dirk....those are elite players to me. Resume, stats, playoff success.....to be the best of the best, you need everything to qualify you as the best of the best.

Thanx again....

expected something like this from a guy with an e-mail called D-Rose The Man....LOL

-Rock

Ryan Borja said:

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I respect your opinion like I said but still disagree.
I agree Rose has alot more to accomplish but I don't blame a player for team success. Team success is based coaching and other players so why should i punish Rose for that. I guess our defention of elite is just different. You probably think my opinion is biast but it isn't. I been watching Rose since his junior in high school. When he hit the game winnning shot to win the national title I knew he be something special. Bull player or not.
And i do consider Durnant elite also.
I'll tell you what Rock, the Bulls will get past the 1st round this year. So i think your opinion will change.
The Bulls your right don't match up with the Bobcats well because of their athleticsm but when the Bulls are fully healthy and they play defense like they have. They can beat ANYBODY. The only team that i think the Bulls can't beat in a seven game seris is Boston and maybe Orlando. But they can beat Miami or anybody else that would make it

Ryan Borja said:

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Just answer me Rock, was Kobe not elite after the first three peat? because his team stunk when Shaq left for about 2years.
Or is that no matter how good Kobe is it takes more than just one "elite" player to win...
After you said Durant wasn't elite i know you didnt know what you were talking about.
I hate people that judge players just on team success.
It's just ignorant

Ryan Borja said:

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and one more thing
how the hell can you say Rose has a chance to win MVP and not be elite?
So you can be an MVP but not elite?

Tetlak said:

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LeBron is so elite, remember when he carried his team in the finals and couldn't be stopped? Oh wait...they got swept. LeBron has won 2 MVPs but never a finals trophy...he must not be elite.

Ryan Borja said:

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Ya i was gonna say the same thing.
What is Lebron not elite because he quit on Cleveland and choked in the playoffs.
T-Mac was never an elite player wither.
KG wasn't elite till he got till Boston
Kobe wasn't elite for two year when Shaq left because they couldn't make the playoffs.
So to be elite you have to play on good teams and have to a good head coach I guess.

Ajosu said:

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If the Bulls beat Charlotte or Philadelphio in round 1, will that be more validating that what he has accomplished already?

Was Jordan not elite in his 3rd season?

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