Rosey Picture? Is Derrick Rose For MVP Hype?

First Things First, No Matter
What My Conclusion  Is, Derrick
Rose Is A Freakishly Talented Player

I hate to burst the bubble here, but things have changed regarding how people talk about the Bulls of late. For years it was about their dire need of inside scoring. They were a .500 team.

When Boozer was out to start the season, they had a 9-6 record and very much resembled the .500 team they’ve been for two years. Since they’ve gone 25-9 behind a much more balanced inside/outside attack. Now the story I’m hearing has changed as well. Now that they are beating good teams it’s all due to Derrick Rose, the league MVP?

They’ve played Portland, Utah, Dallas Twice, MIA, Bos twice , LAL, OKC, ORL twice. That’s 10 solid games with Boozer. The difference from pre-Boozer is instead of losing those games they’ve won most of them going 7-3 vs just good teams. That’s before you consider that one each of the Bos/Orl games was Boozer’s first and second game of the year. And I’m not even counting teams like Memphis and Phoenix who they beat with winning records.

Speaking of Portland, if we want to award the MVP to a player who’s stepped up to lead his team through injuries, then Lamarcus Aldridge is undoubtedly this year’s MVP. It’s not even close. But Bulls fans are making that argument for Rose, who’s obviously not been hampered by injuries on the Bulls like LA on Portland. Here are a few more arguments:

Rose carried the team when Boozer was hurt at the beginning of the year when they had a crazy tough schedule.

This winning did not start till Carlos Boozer came in to provide the inside scoring they’ve so famously lacked. I love Noah. Not a Boozer fan. I have to admit though, he’s an upgrade. Especially offensively. The hype is ceaseless though… lets check it out:


Boozer had his first game on Dec. 1. At that point the Bulls were 9-6. They had 3 wins vs winning teams. Was this because of Rose?

1. Dallas: They held the Mavs to 83 points. Rose had 22 points on 32% shooting and 6 dimes. Noah had a 10/17 and Taj Gibson a 17/18. This was a defence oriented win led by their big men.

2. Denver: Rose had 18/6 on 33% shooting. But again, Noah had a 19 board double double, they held them to 92 points, and won by a basket.

3. Portland: Rose had a good game, 16/13, but this was Deng’s night. When he shot 74% and scored 40 points leading them to the win.

Keep In Mind, I Have Never Liked This Douche

Before Boozer they were beating bad teams and getting beaten by good teams. Upgrade Noah to a 20/10 guy who demands a double team and the result is “it’s Rose keeping his team in it” rather then oh yea, that huge signing we made this summer that filled a hole that kept us playing .500 ball for 3 straight years… yea, that worked.

Talking up Rose for work vs the Cavs and Kings of the league is weak for an MVP argument. Even if Boozer has not been playing out of his mind, it balances the team offensively. Shooters stretch the floor for bigs, and vice versa, bigs collapse defences to create open shots/lanes for shooters/slashers. Even when you look at their quality wins after Boozer started playing, they aren’t getting them because of Rose. They’re winning because of their D.

Vs. LA, 84. OKC, 90. BOS, 79. Mavs 77l. ORL, 90. Lets look into that argument next.

Derick Rose has led the Bulls to wins over every elite team in the league!

Sounds fantastic. But you’ve got to look closer.

Reason 1 The Bulls Are Winning

At the All Star break a reasonable elite cut off looks to be 35 wins. That makes the elite NBA teams Miami, Orlando, Seattle, San Antonio, LA, Dallas and Boston. This makes sense on paper and practice. So lets look at the production.

Vs elite teams Rose shoots a pretty poor 42% to score 26 ppg. His dimes dip considerably to just over 7. And did they beat elite teams? They’ve also lost to almost all of them as well. In those losses and wins Rose doesn’t change and shoots 42%. In Losses he averages 24 points. In wins about 27 points. So an extra basket and a half. Is this leading the Bulls in these wins over great teams? The difference of a basket and a half?

No. Defence is. A non-factor in Rose’s game. Vs Elite teams the Bulls are holding opponents to an average of 94 PPG. In their losses, 104.66 points. In their wins they’re crushing the competition with 87.25 points allowed. A difference of 20 PPG? Yes, that’s a leading factor to wins.

Reason #2 (and 1) The Bulls Are Winning

In wins Rose only has a single game with more then 10 assists vs Orlando. He had 22/10, but they held the Magic to 78 points. Consider Rose’s 11 point, 23% shooting win over the Thunder. Rose is their best player, but they are winning with defence if he plays well or not. In fact, the Bulls have a 9-1 record in Rose’s 10 worst shooting games, all of them under 35%.

That’s smoke and mirrors though. Are these ‘elite’ wins? They look like it in the schedule. But a cursory look at those 8 wins shows it’s obvious the Bulls didn’t actually best elite teams. I guess they were wearing elite jerseys, sure, but they came down to their level of the Bulls competition and not the reverse. Observe:

Their lone win vs Boston came when KG AND Perkins were out.

Their lone win over the Heat came when Lebron was out. They still only beat them by 3 points.

They beat Dallas once with no Butler and a hobbled Dirk who rushed back and was visibly limping on the court. It wasn’t Rose’s 22/6 that led them in their other Dallas win but 10/17 from Noah and a 17/18 from Taj Gibson as previously discussed.

Their lone win vs the Thunder came on an 11 point, 23% shooting stinker from Rose.

Their win over the Lakers was decent but a total team effort. LA had just lost 4 straight to the Jazz, Pacers, Griz and Rockets the week before… I’m not sure what that means but I watched that game, and LA was looking anything but elite while being crushed by the Bulls D.

The win over the Magic Rose had 12 dimes, but 22 points on 28% shooting… good but not amazing.

Scratch That, The #1 Reason The Bulls
Are Winning Is ‘Suited Up’ In This Pic All Right

And then the Spurs win, when Rose positively dominated. Don’t want to take anything away from a gifted player after all whom I’m huge on. Just low on hype.

Conclusion: Rose has ‘led’ them to wins over an elite team for sure, once, on a career night. Pretending this is regular is disingenuous. If he keeps up last night for the rest of the season, by all means, give that kid the MVP. As yet though he has not earned it vs the best teams in the NBA. And since we brought up D so much, how did I get through this whole paragraph without giving massive credit to Tom Thibiedeau, who’s truly at the heart of the Bulls league and ‘team leading’ D?


Derick Rose is playing at a higher level then anyone in the league

Rose just had his first 40 point game of his career. In comparison, LeBron James has 3 40 point games this season and one 50 point game. As the PG Rose’s best passing game is 14, once. Same as Lebron from the 3. Rose has 15 double digit dime games but he’s also the point guard. Lebron has 10. Rose has 17 games shooting over 50%. Bron has 24.

How Bulls Fans Percieved The Rose/James
Argument Before The Decision

With no dominant big men the Heat are the league’s 4’th best defensive team. Lebron’s offensive impact is also worth noting as the Heat are the 4’th best offensive team He’s at the center of everything they run on both ends. This is compared to Rose, running the 19’th ‘best’ offence in the league… just ahead of the Pistons and Kings depending on the day.

It’s not his play giving them a shot like an MVP’s play should. It’s his inefficiency at the point that’s actually stagnating their offence. Forcing low percentage attempts for himself instead of creating easy baskets for his team mates is reflected in his low FG% and assists .

Lebron vs Rose comes down to facts. It’s factual that Lebron is out producing Derrick Rose. It’s factual that Lebron is lifting the Heat on both ends of the court to an elite level. It’s factual that the Bulls are elite at the one thing Rose does not do well, and terrible at the one thing he does do well. Conclusion: Lebron is drastically more valuable to his team.

Lets attempt a Dwight comparison. He seems to get overlooked yearly. With terrible defensive players Orlando is the third best defensive team in the league. Rose’s elite offensive numbers. 13 30 + games. 1 40+ game. 15 10 dimes games. 17 games shooting over 50%.

Dwight. A ridiculous 5 20+ rebound games. 22 15 board games. 47 10 board games. 4 5 block games. 1 40 point game. 10 30 point games.47 games shooting over 50%.

I know, it’s not fair to compare a center and a PG. But to me, it’s aparant that Dwight’s impact on D, as well as O, is just above Rose’s. He has only shot under 50% in 8 games out of 55. The Magic field crappy defensive players who Howard lifts to elite defensive status.

Rose vs Howard. Fact:The Bulls are a crappy offensive team with, uh… well… pretty freaking elite offensive players. (more on this in a bit). Fact: Rose is not lifting the team offensively because even with his high PPG, they are still nothing but below average offensively. Fact: Dwight Howard makes the Magic good at everything because he’s actually the league’s MVP. Okay, not a fact, but pretty much.

The Bulls would be nothing, a lottery team, without Derick Rose

Oh, but Rose is scoring lots of points! Sure, but since he’s only affecting offence how far would they fall? The better question: how far could they fall? Past the hapless Pistons, who rank two spots down from the Bulls? Detroit is conducting a t-mac experiment at point. Their best scoring big man is Chris Wilcox. Their best rebounder is Greg Monroe. Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, their ‘big signings’ are not even starting. Rip Hamilton is not even playing. Why? Because the team has no clue how to score or what it’s doing. Noah, Boozer and Deng are arguably the best front line in basketball. Taj Gibson is a ‘great’ backup who can take over games and is coming into his own. Kyle Korver last season… wait a minute now. This gets it’s own paragraph.

Kyle Korver just posted the best 3 point percentage in league history last season. 53.6%.

Without Rose this team would still be amazing on D, and could not possibly be that much worse on O. Why? Because Rose doesn’t really make them much better on Offense. The reality that scoring loads of points on 44% shooting is not efficient play.

With an average point guard running the offence the Bulls are still better then the Pistons and Kings. They don’t have Luol Dengs ripping off 40 points in huge games with elite D. I see no one capable of multiple 15+ board games like both Noah, Boozer AND Gibson have had this season. I don’t see any history leading shooters coming off the bench. Noah, their offensive liability, still shoots over 50% for 14 PPG. What I do see is a sneaky stacked team that is a lock for the playoffs with their league leading defence whether Rose is there or not.

I must be mistaken though, because this is the response I get from this point:

You must not be watching the Bulls, if you did, it would be obvious Rose is their best player and takes all the big shots

On the contrary, I am watching the Bulls, and apparently people making this argument are only watching Derrick Rose. Rose is their best offensive player. I could even see how Rose is their best overall player. He’s totally the future of the franchise. But he’s not the MVP now. Not because of this point.

How do I know? Because of Shawn Marion.

How does Marion prove anything about Derrick Rose? Simple. Marion is a perfect foil to Rose to test the logic of the above statement for validity. In 2007 the Suns were the best team in basketball. There was no doubt this was because they were the most potent offensive team in the league. They had a brilliant play maker with a brilliant offensive coach in a brilliant offensive system.

There was no doubt that Marion was their most versatile and best defensive player. There was no doubt that he was their go to guy on any and all big stops in games. Except the Suns stank on defence. (except not as bad as the Bulls on offence. The Suns were above average ranked 13’th on D while the Bulls are ranked 19’th on O). Marion came 4’th in DPOY voting that year. I’m not sure, but I don’t think anyone else on that team has ever received even a single vote for DPOY.

I’m sure you’ve figured out why this argument stinks. Offence is flashy and sexy but it’s not worth more then defence. Being the best at something a team that wins is terrible at does not make you an MVP just because the things you’re good at make weekly top 10’s. They get you all star selections, and that’s very fair, but the MVP is about winning: sports centre is not.

The defensive drop off between Marion and the rest of the Suns is much more drastic then offensive equivalent between Rose and the Bulls. This is self-evident. Shawn Marion on the Suns is vice versa mirror of Rose on the Bulls. Except Marion was way better on O (3’rd on the team) then Rose is on D (5’th or 6’th). Also self-evident: there is no effing way Shawn Marion was the 2007 Suns, or, league MVP.

The only way this argument validly suggests Rose is the league MVP is if you:

1. Think Marion was the 2007 league, or hell, just team MVP on the Suns.

2. Think that offence is more ‘valuable’ then defence.

In both scenarios you’ve got a completely impossible task on your hands because both assertions 1 and 2 are categorically ridiculous. Yes, Rose takes the big shots, but he also misses small shots, which lead to situations when he has to take big shots, which leads to a bunch of losses because Derrick Rose as stated, hits fewer shots then he misses.

In fact, Derrick Rose hits even less of his ‘big shots’. Per 82games.com, Rose is only shooting 39.6% in clutch situations this season. The Bulls are still winning. Is it because Rose is lifting them? No, it’s because he’s being carried by team MVP, Tom Thibideau and his supporting cast of kick ass defensive players. Both Rose and Marion made their teams a lot better but neither of them ‘made’ their teams what they were. That is precisely what MVP’s do. QED.

But.. But… But he scores all their points!

Ah, yes, so when trying to cope with the logic of the Shawn Marion foil, some fans have responded by rejecting that logic, and then merely repeating that anyone who watched the games would see Rose is their best scorer. Even though it’s not addressed, lets make one more comparison.

Who’s the MVP of the showtime Lakers? Is it James Worthy? Jamal Wilkes? Byron Scott? Kareem? Maybe Kareem has a case very early in the era, but the MVP is without question Magic Johnson.

Except every single one of those other players above outscored him in various seasons. Magic’s natural place in the points column was third on the team. Everyone but Jamal Wilkes led the team in scoring for an entire season. Even Byron Scott. Other players would tend to take the big shots and scored the most points but Magic was still the MVP.

Why? The Lakers won with offence. They were built around Magic. They won and lost with the ebb and flow of his game. He was most valuable to the team for this reason. If your team wins regardless of how good a game you have, you just can’t be that valuable because obviously, something or someone on your team is good enough to generate wins on it’s/their own.

The Laker’s leading scorers were Scott and Big Game James but they were where they were because they had Magic. Scoring all the points and taking the big shots is a faulty reason to make someone the MVP. The Bulls leading scorer and most exciting player is Derrick Rose, but they are where they are because they have a Magic Defence.

But… But… But… Rose Leads The League In Points/Assists/Rebounds Combined! He Has To Be MVP!

I love how each season a new ‘stat’ floats out of the ether that people use to justify their bias. I’ve never heard people mention this before. As if a single point is equal to an assist. A solid dime scores 2 or 3 points and a rebound gets an entire possession yet it’s the same as making a free throw?

I’ve even heard the homer Bulls announcers make this claim during broadcasts. The sad part? This is total bullshit. It’s a lie. Just like the ‘when Rose shoots more, we win more’ lie being pushed by the Rose4MVP agenda, it’s factually incorrect. Observe:

Lebron: 26.2 + 7.1 + 7.6=40.9
Kevin Love: 20.8+15.8+2.5=39.1
Dwight: 23 + 13.9 + 1.3= 38.2
Durant: 28.2+7.3+2.8=38.3
Amare: 26.4+8.3+2.6=37.3

Who’s at the bottom of this league leading list?

Rose: 24.5+8.1+4.3=36.9

It’s not even remotely close. I just took a few people I suspected would be higher then him too. There could be more.

Rose has become the best point guard in the league and is out playing his peers

It’s not fair to compare Rose’s stats to bigs. Things like rebounds and blocks are so much in their favor. Another hype sound byte I’ve heard is that Rose is now the best point in the game. If he’s the MVP he should be out playing other candidates at his position, right? Howard compared to other 5’s screams ‘best’ and ‘elite’. So how’s he stack up vs the 1’s he’s supposedly passed. First up, my boy, Steve Nash.

Nash vs Rose.

15 dime games.
16 – 0.

10 dime games
34 – 15

Rose does score a little more obviously:

30 point games
0 – 13

20 point games

18 – 39

But not nearly as efficiently

50% shooting games
32-17

What’s happening? Rose is making bad decisions. Setting up his own shots rather then team mates. It’s padding his PPG but killing his team’s offence. This is why elite points own him on FG% and dimes while his positive offensive impact is over rated. He looks GREATon sports center. The reality is he’s missing way more shots then he’s taking, not passing enough.

The Best Of The Best For FCP. Nuff Said.

Team is a lot though. Lets compare the help between Nash/Rose here too.

Inside scoring
Carlos Boozer vs Hakim Warrick or Robin Lopez or Jared Dudley or Marcin Gortat. I love Gortat. Big time. But Boozer, who I really don’t like much, is just wildly the better inside scorer.

Outside shooting
Channing Frye vs Kyle Korver. Hmm… Frye’s best season from the arc is 43% which is the only season, ever, he’s shot over 40%. Korver’s best season is a full 10% better when he LED HISTORY in 3 point percentage and he’s always been one of the elite shooters in the game.

Not to mention in this match up, Rose is about 1000 times faster then Nash. So if Rose is playing at an MVP level, which is above the entire league, and Rose is an offensive player, why is it that Nash’s offensive impact destroys his? Nash’s team is elite on offense while Rose has better offensive players.

CP3 vs Rose

Chris Paul’s team, well, they suck. I’m not sure how to compare. There is nothing elite about David West. Some nice post moves? But he’s soft. And he’s not 20/10. Okafor is nice defensively for sure. But the Bulls players own the crappy Hornets. Still…

15 dime games.
4 – 0.

10 dime games
29 – 15

Rose does score a little more obviously:

30 point games
0 – 13

20 point games

17 – 39

But not nearly as efficiently

50% shooting games
28-17

Wait a minute, did Nash just own Chris Paul as well? A bit but at least Paul’s team stinks so you can’t make the same argument against him. It’s still intriguing that with about a quarter the athletic ability, Nash is still playing the point at a higher level then all these people who have supposedly passed him.

Lets just do one more head to head to head comparison in case we got confused with who’s elite in Rose’s peer group.

Nash/CP3/Rose

Games shooting under 40%

8/16/15

Games with less then 10 dimes
17/29/37

And note, I didn’t bring up 3 point shooting cuz it’s not really fair and to be fair, you can still be a fantastic PG/player/MVP without shooting 3’s.

So Why Has Derrick Rose Been Hyped?

There are 4 main reasons.

1. Rose is awesome, and scores lots of points. High PPG in the NBA is sexy and easy for writers to fake like they know what they’re talking about.

2. Rose has a plethora of awesome sports centre highlights.

3. The Bulls have a very good record.

4. Most importantly, Rose plays for a large market team. Amare plays in NYC and got hype for the same reason early in the year when they beat a string of hapless teams for a week or two. (thanks to my reader John for pointing this out, I’d forgotten to mention it, along with Rose’s obvious east coast bias).

And keep in mind, I really do love watching Rose. Awesome player. I’m totally looking forward to watching him for years to come. But something sucks about Derrick Rose. It’s not him but his growing legions of irrational fans who seem to be beating rational ones into submission.

People are trying to make him the MVP instead of letting him earn it. Dwight Howard’s rise is not sexy now. We already know he’s great and expect it. Lebron’s brilliance has won two MVP’s and people want to hate him. Everyone knows CP3 already got robbed but he’s so 2008. Not that Rose can’t still push his team higher and win it fair and square. He can. He just has not separated himself from the pack as of yet though.

He’s been on a team that appears to have been saddled by injuries all season who in reality got better then they’ve ever been when Noah got hurt because Boozer stepped in to replace him.

They’ve been lucky because about half the time they’ve faced the best teams they’ve gotten gimmes instead of the usual ass kicking like when they faced those same teams full strength. Don’t get me wrong, Rose has made a sizeable jump in his career this season. It’s great to watch. But he’s not playing at an MVP level… yet.

4 Comments on "Rosey Picture? Is Derrick Rose For MVP Hype?"

  1. Great points throughout. Nothing I didn't know. You're going to get a lot of hate though, because Rose is in a big market and there are an extreme amount of fans in big markets. So naturally, with such a large fan base, the number of loud, ignorant people seem to be overwhelming. Good luck.

  2. Hey John, thanks and I appriciate the feedback/compliments. 🙂

    That's a great point about him being from a large market team. Actually I think I'll go and add that to a section at the bottom. It's funny. Who are the two leading dudes in MVP stories this year? Amare (from NYC) and Rose (from Chicago).

    You should subscribe to the blog if you like it. It's nice for some positivity. I wrote this article about Kobe once, and the hate for it was monumental. ;0

    http://www.fullcourtpest.com/2009/06/scoring-assist-diferential-breaking.html

  3. Wow, only two months between posts. You must be really breaking down game film.

    If only the people voting for MVP actually looked at this in such depth, Pest.

    Fortunately, we have plenty of season left to determine who will win the award. And despite the fact that Chicago has one of the better records in the league, I still think Rose has one thing going against him.

    He's still young.

    In a tight race with no clear front-runner, I think voters might be more inclined to give it to a LeBron or even an equally young Durant who fans are starting to love.

    Rose is currently 8th in the league in scoring and 9th in the league in assists but he still turns the ball over a lot and is shooting 45% from the floor, which isn't awful for a point guard, unless you compare it to Steve Nash or Tony Parker.

    How ironic would it be if the return of Noah and Boozer to the lineup actually hindered Rose's chances at winning the award?

    In the end, unless he REALLY picks it up, and carries his team to a one seed, I think Rose finishes top three in the MVP voting and the voters find a way to give the award to someone else.

  4. Heh, yea Chump. It took me a while. I've been travelling a lot lately. But I think the return of Booze/Noah helps him rather then hinders. He's in the discussion and at the end of the season they'll just give it to the guy who's in with the best record.

    Watching Bulls games is almost unbearable due to the gushing announcers. :/

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