"Why can't I be the MVP of the league?" the Bulls star said at media
day festivities Monday at the Berto Center. "Why can't I be the best
player in the league?"
"That's why my expectations are high. Why can't I be the best player in
the league? I work hard enough. I dedicate myself to the game and
sacrifice a lot of things at a young age."
"With this team, I think we're good," Rose said. "I don't think we need
any more pieces. We have good guys who are dedicated to the game and
came from winning programs. They don't care about stats. They just want
to win games."
This got me to thinking, other than the obvious (he's not good enough), why can't Rose be MVP?
It's not going to happen this season unless his improvement is absolutely absurd. He wasn't in the running enough last year to swing enough votes for this year. He'll need a year of being an MVP candidate before someone pushes him over the edge.
This season, the award is Kevin Durant's to lose, however, with a look around the league, if Rose can make the necessary statistical jump, the idea of Rose as MVP isn't quite as absurd as it appears on the surface.
I started thinking, over the next five seasons who are the legitimate MVP candidates?
The names I came up with: Lebron, Wade, Kobe, Durant, Paul, Williams, Howard
How can Rose top these players?
1: LeBron and Wade steal votes from each other, the team somewhat underperforms due to chemistry and people remain largely bitter towards them and think they took the easy way out.
2: Kobe's game is already in slow decline, so it's hard to imagine him getting another MVP at this point, the Lakers as a team aren't likely to improve, so his momentum will fall.
3: Chris Paul is in a lousy situation, and you won't win an MVP playing for an 8 seed or lottery team.
4: The Bulls will need to have better season records than both the Jazz and Magic for Rose to pass Howard, but over the coming seasons both those things are certainly possible if Rose steps up his game to the next level.
That leaves Kevin Durant. Well, they won't give Kevin the award every year right? Maybe he gets hurt one season?
In the end, for Derrick to win an MVP, he's going to first need to raise his game considerably from where it stands, but despite the award apparently being for the best player in the league, I think circumstances could actually unfold that Derrick wins the award over multiple better players due to team record and the nature of how the media likes to spread out the award.
The Bulls roster seems set to take a considerable step forward. Even without Rose playing considerably better, the off-season additions should add up to 5-10 wins to the team this season.
However, in terms of Derrick's improvement, the stage seems set for him to take a considerable leap forward as well. No longer will he be doubled off of every screen and roll. He's going to get straight switches or opponents chasing him under/over the screen. He'll drive through more open lanes off those screens which should lead to more fouls drawn against help defense.
His assist numbers should improve considerably as well with Boozer as a more viable threat than the threesome of Noah, Gibson, and Miller last season. While it's somewhat pie in the sky, its not hard to imagine Derrick putting up 25 points and 8 assists on the season.
Figure he takes as many shots as last year, but better driving lanes cause him to convert 1 more basket and force the defense to foul him once more, and he's right there on the points while Boozer / Korver converting a few more baskets and the assists are there too.
Would 25/8 get him an MVP? Probably not, but the East is a three team race after Miami. I don't think the MVP will come from a Miami player after this off-season, so if Rose can push the Bulls to the two seed and Durant fails to impress (okay that parts a stretch, but I didn't want to root for an injury), then Rose could easily be the next guy in line even if he's not the best player in the league.
Of course, Derrick isn't thinking about how he can back into the award, he's thinking about how he can dominate the league. It's hard for me to envision Rose becoming the best player in the NBA based on what he's shown so far, but I love the attitude. Derrick's a star player, and it's nice to see him building some swagger into his game both on the court and in the media room.