Rose Will Be Named Youngest MVP in NBA History Tuesday

Rose Will Be Named Youngest MVP in NBA History Tuesday

22-year-old Derrick Rose will be announced as the NBA's Most Valuable Player of the 2010-11 regular season on Tuesday, sources confirmed to the Chicago Tribune on Monday evening (K.C. Johnson):

At 22 years, 7 months, Rose will become the youngest MVP in NBA history, supplanting 1969 winner and Hall of Famer Wes Unseld by roughly five months. And he will do so by taking a huge jump, becoming the first MVP winner since Dave Cowens in 1973 to win the award without receiving one vote the previous year.

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With averages of 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds, Rose became the seventh player in NBA history to post averages of at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and four rebounds in a single season. He joined heavyweights Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Rose also became the fifth player -- and first point guard -- to post 2,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds in the same season, again joining elite company in Robertson, Jordan, James and John Havlicek.
Rose also joined Jordan as the only Bulls to finish in the top 10 in scoring and assists in the same season, which Jordan achieved in 1988-89.
And he will join Jordan, who won the award five times, as the only MVPs in franchise history. Jordan endorsed Rose for the award in early March.
Before the season, when asked by CSN Chicago's Mark Schanowski about taking the next and most difficult step to become one of the greatest in the NBA, he responded, citing his work ethic, "Why can't I be the MVP of the league?"

Now, he is the MVP as the best player on the team with the NBA-best 62-20 record. He joins Bob Cousy (1957), Steve Nash (2005, '06), and Magic Johnson (1987, '89, '90) as only the fourth point guard to win the award. More interesting -- with Nash, Cousy, and Allen Iverson -- the 6-foot-3 third-year player is only the fourth player under 6-foot-4
Whether or not LeBron James or Dwight Howard had better seasons is another story. In a year where the MVP was as much a toss-up as it could be, the truth is that the award is subjective on purpose. The intellectual class of those who cover the league vote on their definitions of "value" and D-Rose hit the top of the list for those voters.
Rose finished the season all over the NBA leaderboards, as:

  • 9th in Player Efficiency Rating (23.5), while 2nd in usage rate (32.2%);
  • 7th in points per game (25.0) and 10th in assists per game (7.7);
  • 4th in total points (2,026), 5th in field goals (711), 8th in total assists (623), and 9th in free throws made (476);
  • 9th in win shares per 48 minutes (0.208), 5th in total win shares (13.1), 6th in offensive win shares (8.4), and 8th in defensive (4.8);
  • tied for 3rd in blocks per game (0.6), 7th in rebounds per game (4.1) among guards
His 128 3-pointers were 96 more than his career total of 32 coming into the season; and his .332 3P% rose his career rate from .242 to .309. His 476 FTs also surpassed his prior career total of 456, posting a career-high .858 FT% -- from .766 and .788 in his prior two seasons.
One of the more remarkable stats is that when factoring 3-pointers, Rose scored or assisted on 42.4 of the 98.6 Bulls' points per game (Hoopdata) -- 43% of the points scored by the team in the 81 games he played.
He posted a career-high .550 TS%, but was tied for 64th in the league with J.R. Smith. Compared to Howard's .616, LeBron's .594, and Dwayne Wade's .581, the criticism largely involved how Rose's points-per-shot were relatively pedestrian.
I've said pretty much every time when asked since mid-January that were I to have a vote LeBron would have mine for first place. At the end of the season, I didn't change this personal interpretation of most valuable being the most productive player in the league on a title contender over the season, but I always said that I'd be happy if Rose won because: (a) he's my favorite player; and (b) that would mean the Bulls were winning so much that it'd be difficult for voters to vote differently. Rose would have an extremely difficult close second-place on my fictional ballot, with Howard 3rd (only because of his team's relative irrelevance).
I guess I can confidently say that were I to have a ballot, that top three would piss everyone off, I guess. Personally, I fail to see enough valid argumentation for Rose or Howard that doesn't sway in the cumulative direction of LeBron, but I fully understand, empathize, and -- probably even -- sympathize with Rose at the top.
Leading the winningest team in the NBA with a +8.39 adjusted plus-minus. He only 4th on the team in simple on-court plus-minus at +12.17 -- behind Taj Gibson (16.35), Luol Deng (14.15), and Joakim Noah (13.66) -- and 2nd, behind Luol Deng (+54.76), in weighted on-off-court plus-minus at +22.88 (BasketballValue.com), but there's a high value on what's we're attempting to discover as clutchiness (click here to enlarge):

I don't believe in clutchiness -- and yes, that word is meant to be snide. Good players are simply good players and while everyone's offensive production across the league typically goes down in the last five minutes of games, we're simply mistaking great players not getting worse as them getting better. What's most interesting is that most of Rose's numbers were well above his average rates in the NBA.com-defined "clutch" and his numbers in the Bulls-20 losses were well below his average rates (click here to enlarge):
It may be trite, but Rose's dramatic fall-off in Bulls' losses, combined with there only being 20 of them contributes to the "value" gauge of securing homecourt throughout the playoffs as the winningest NBA team. There such a tiny margin of error in securing homecourt that Rose's clutchiness of being far beyond reasonably trusted to dominate the ball and be a defensive playmaker may hold different weight than the clutchiness of Chris Paul being the difference between the Hornets entering NBA Hell or relatively sneaking into the playoffs.
The debate will rage on for years, as I and others still adamantly argue with Kobephiles than Paul deserved the 2008 MVP over Kobe Bryant; and that it shouldn't even have really been all that close. But it should all be in good fun. It's just a game to pacify us from the daily grind of our lives. And the argument over individuals is never more valuable than instead enlightening ourselves to greater understandings of what wins basketball games and how much each aspect of the game contributes to wins; and more importantly, what makes the game and this league the best in existence of a beautiful game.
Overall, I hope that stupidity can lessen. I refuse to use this time of comparing great players to disparage the greatness of great players. To assume that I'm hating on Rose because I'm saying the best player since Jordan simply had a slightly better year, I can't do anything for you. If you mistake anything in this post for me saying Rose had anything less than a phenomenal year, I can only hope the fragile minds of children aren't dependent on your guidance.
Rose's award doesn't make him better than LeBron or Dwight, a better point guard than Paul or Deron Williams, or a more elite player than Wade or Kobe. Being a lesser shooter, defender, and playcaller than Paul, smaller than Dwight, less efficient than LeBron, let alone lesser than Michael Jordan doesn't change the fact that Rose became of the most elite players in the game. Being in the elite class of NBA point guards and across the league is simply where he is and he's on the rise.
Rose is an incredible human being for whom to root. He is one of the most -- if not the most -- exciting players in the NBA and he's trending upward. We're seeing the next "that guy" to be a major factor for the generation of the league in which it's becoming. What he does, how he does it, and who he is makes him a tremendously valuable aspect of the game, the future of the NBA, and the visceral bliss of being a basketball fan. That bliss crosses geographical lines, the colors of logos, the boundaries of socio-economics, etc. or you're simply missing out on the basketball experience.

The announcement will be made at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in Chicago and Commissioner David Stern will present the Bulls star point guard with the award before Game 2 on Wednesday at the United Center.

Unattributed Advanced Stats via Basketball-Reference.

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