Why Rose isn’t MVP
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A player is “most valuable” when he has played better than any of the over 400 players in the entire NBA for the year in question. If this is true, then why is Chicago Bull Derrick Rose the clear favorite to win MVP this year?
As of March 22, Rose ranks in the top 40 in the NBA in only two major statistical categories: points per game (6th) and assists per game (10th). Last season, MVP LeBron James placed in the top 40 in points per game (2nd), rebounds per game (33rd), assists per game (6th), blocks per game (33rd), field goal percentage (26th), and steals per game (9th). In the categories an elite point guard should be elite in, LeBron’s stats from last year beat Rose’s stats from this year. James ranked better in PPG, APG, FG %, and SPG. LeBron also filled the boxscore with stats like rebounds and blocks that are usually dominated by big men.
Not only were 2010 LeBron James’ stats better than this years’ Rose stats, but one could make a strong case for LeBron as MVP this year. He’s 2nd in scoring, 13th in both steals and assists per game, and 28th in shooting percentage… not to mention being 32nd in rebounding. In fact, there are a lot of other players whose stats look more MVP than Rose’s.
This brings us back to my original question: why is Rose the clear favorite to win the award? Of the ten ESPN.com NBA contributors who made preseason predictions, only one said the Chicago Bulls would place 3rd in the East. Another expert predicted they would finish 5th. The eight others said they would be 4th. Nobody expected them to be this good. Perhaps the MVP has become the “best player on a surprisingly good team” award.
It is true that Rose’s numbers are much improved compared to last seasons’. But the MVP is an award for the player who has the best year. In sports, we measure “best” using statistics. If you look at simple, key statistics, Rose isn’t the best candidate. LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant… they all fit the golden slipper of MVP better than Derrick Rose. He just isn’t the prettiest rose in the garden… this year.