News has leaked out all over the internet that Derrick Rose has officially won the MVP this season becoming the NBA's youngest MVP. An award win which is bitter sweet coming off of a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
His run to the MVP is one of the more surprising runs in the history of the award both in terms of how young he was while winning it and how off the map he was for the award in preseason.
Rose earned it by an incredible amount of improvement
He extended his range
When we last saw Derrick Rose in his second year, he had a flat jumper that looked like it could never consistently extend past the 18 foot area. The arc on the ball simply wasn't likely to make a three point shot a staple of Derrick Rose's game ever.
Rose completely reworked the arc on his shot over the summer and came back with a three pointer. While he's not the second coming of Steve kerr, Rose improved his percentage up to 33% on nearly five threes a game compared to 27% on less than one.
He change his basket attacking style
Rose used to dive into the hoop and fade away from all contact which resulted in very few fouls called on the defense. Even at the start of this season, the hints were still there. However, by the end of the year, Derrick Rose was throwing his body into people when attacking the basket at the hoop.
The result has been a tremendous increase in his free throw attempts and overall offensive efficiency. Rose raised his TS% up to 55% which is a great number for a high volume player whom the defense double teams repeatedly.
He became the best finisher in the NBA
In his first two seasons, Rose missed many of those acrobatic shots around the rim, but this season he became the wizard of hitting tough contested layups at the basket.
Anyone can finish when they get a dunk, but the great players frequently get so much attention that the open dunk isn't too frequent of a play. It's how they finish through the arms of multiple defenders that makes the difference when it counts, and Rose is amongst the best now.
He improved his ball handling tremendously
The amount of defensive pressure opponents put on Rose is unbelievable. Rose has to face more traps and double teams than probably any player in the NBA. We've seen Rose split a double team twice on the same drive more times than we can count this year, first on the perimeter and then again when he gets to the basket.
The primary reason he's improved in this area is because his ball handling has gone from a question mark under pressure to a strength. He's finally caught his arms up to his feet in terms of quickness and no longer has to slow down on that first step to make sure the ball comes with him.
Rose has become the best defensive PG in the NBA
We'll see how long it takes for the reputation to improve up to his abilities, but I simply can't think of another PG who plays better defense in key situations. Rose has to carry such a tremendous load on offense that his defense isn't always on, but when it is on, there's no one at the PG position I'd trust more to make a big play.
Rose led all PGs this season in blocks and can use his athleticism and strength to beast opposing PGs. In almost all of the rivalry games this season, Rose simply crushed the opposing all-star guard.
Captain clutch to the rescue
Per 48 minutes in crunch time, Derrick Rose is averaging 47.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and 2 steals while everyone in the stadium knows exactly where the ball is going every possession. He was only assisted on 11% of those points, meaning he created almost all of them himself.
Rose has grasped victory out of the jaws of defeat for this Bulls team more times than we can count, leading crazy comebacks and depressing opponents.
Rose has stepped up to become a leader
Derrick started off his NBA career seeming shy and a bit aloof by NBA standards. He was always a nice guy to the media, but he never had much to say. He was quiet on the court with his teammates, and you wondered if he had the 'it' factor to go with all of his talent.
Well he must have gained about 10 lbs of pure 'it' factor this summer, because it's bursting out the seams now. Rose has become a demonstrative leader, far more vocal on the court and in the locker room. He's been the best player, but he's made this his team.
Heck, he had the balls to predict that he'd win the award in preseason. Not in a flashy way, but he simply said that he put in the work, he put in the effort, he improved his game, and that he had a shot to win the MVP and be the best player in the league.
Many of us laughed, but he was right.