Wesley is a sports expert and journalist out of Philadelphia that writes for Bleacher Report. You can check out all of his work at http://bleacherreport.com/users/88810-wesley-kaminsky or follow his twitter @Wesley_Kaminsky
When Derrick Rose posed the question “Why can’t I be MVP?” on day one of Chicago Bulls media day, not many people took him seriously. Rose, the young, humble superstar doesn’t talk much in the press, and when he says something you should believe him.
In an off-season dominated by LeBron James and the Miami Heat, it is Derrick Rose who is stealing the spotlight midway through the season. Rose has the Bulls in striking distance of the number one seed in the East and is averaging an impressive 24 points and eight assists. The kid from Chicago, “Poohdini,” has transformed himself from a star into a superstar. There is no player in the NBA who is more important to their team right now than to what Derrick Rose is to the Chicago Bulls.
Here are ways that Derrick Rose can lock up the MVP award in the second half of the season.
No. 7: By Starting at Point Guard In The All-Star Game
After making his first All-Star game last season as a reserve, Derrick Rose will take it one step further this year and start. Can you imagine an Eastern Conference All-Star starting line-up of Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard? Good luck stopping that starting roster.
Derrick Rose, the humble man that he is, has said that he will be happy to just be the towel boy in the all-star game. Sorry Derrick, but I’m not buying that. With the way that Rose has been playing this season, the starting point guard spot in the Eastern Conference belongs to him and only him. Rose has missed just one game this season, compared to Rajon Rondo who has missed 11. Not to take anything away from Rondo, but he is surrounded by four hall of famers in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O’Neal. But that’s a whole different story.
It will be quite a show at the Staples Center for the 2011 All-Star game. This is the first time in quite awhile that I can actually say that I’m excited to watch it.
Derrick Rose will not be quiet in the All-Star game either, and will showcase his talents against the best players in the league. If only LeBron James knew what he was missing when he decided not to sign with the Bulls.
No. 6: Getting Keith Bogans More Consistent
If there is one knock on this talented Bulls team, it’s that they need to address their need for a shooting guard by the trade deadline. Bulls fans have grown tired of Keith Bogans and his 36% shooting (32% from three) but he has started every game this season. Bogans has a season high of just 14 points, and cannot seem to find a rhythm on offense at all. I still don’t know how he is the fourth highest scorer in Kentucky basketball history.
As the facilitator of this team, it’s up to Derrick Rose to get his starting shooting guard into a rhythm. Rose isn’t one to complain that he wants a shooting guard who can consistently knock down the three, Rose is one to take the blame if that player isn’t playing well. Quite frankly, Bogans has been bad on the offensive end. Tom Thibodeau has made it clear he is sticking with Bogans, so Rose is going to have to try to get him more involved. If you can get Keith Bogans to find his shot, this Bulls team has found yet another weapon.
No. 5: Maintaining His 24 Points, 8 Assists Average
I’m not generally a big stat geek. I don’t like to point to players stats to justify how well or poorly they have been playing. However, in the case of Derrick Rose, the numbers don’t lie, it’s that simple. In his first three years in the league, Roses averages have increased every year, and this season he is one of only a few players to average at least 24 points and 8 assists for the season. Rose has been filling up the stat sheet all season long, and it isn’t for nothing.
While some players may, such as Monta Ellis may average 25 points per game, it does nothing to help their team win. That’s not the case with Rose, who in addition to his ridiculous stats, is putting the Bulls on his shoulders every time they need him to and willing them to victory.
To win the Most Valuable Player award you have to have pretty good stats as well as be on a good team. Check, and check. Rose has both of those.
No. 4: By Making Sure The Bulls Have One Of The Top 3 Seeds In The East
To be considered for the prestigious MVP award, it is final that in addition to putting up great numbers, that your team is also a contender. The good news for Derrick Rose is that he has done both of those. The MVP does not come from a mediocre team, and if you don’t believe me, just look at the previous years.
2009-2010: LeBron James (61-21, 1st in the East)
2008-2009: LeBron James (66-16, 1st in the East)
2007-2008: Kobe Bryant (57-25, 1st in East)
2006-2007: Dirk Nowitzki (67-15, 1st in West)
Okay, you get my point right? By locking up one of the top three seeds in the East, the Bulls send a message that they are for real, and would surpass either the Celtics, Magic or Heat in the conference. While Amar’e Stoudemire has had an MVP type season, the Knicks are barely above .500 while the Bulls are almost 20 games over. Getting one of the top seeds in the East can happen for this Bulls team, and when they get fully healthy the sky will be the limit.
No. 3: Must Compete With The Best Of The NBA
Not only do the Bulls have to get one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference, but they also need to take care of business in the East and beat the teams they should. In the last month, as well as the Bulls have played, they have played down to their competition at times, losing to times like the Bobcats twice, and the Nets. Is this something to worry about? No. It would be if it was happening often, but you aren’t going to win every game.
For the Bulls to get a top three seed, it’s vital not to just take care of the bad teams, but beat teams such as the Celtics, Heat, Magic, and Hawks. If they are able to take care of them as well, then this Bulls team will soar. Like I said though, every game isn’t going to be a victory. This is not just teams in the Eastern Conference, but the West too they must take care off. Stay tuned for these upcoming games on the Bulls schedule.
February 12: @ New Orleans
February 17: vs. San Antonio
February 24: vs Miami
Key stretch: March 2-6: @Atlanta,@ Orlando, and @ Miami. We will learn a lot about this Bulls team on this stretch.
No. 2: By Not Backing Down From Any Superstars
To be the best, you have to compete and out play the best, and Derrick Rose has done just that this season. All season long Rose has put the Bulls on his shoulders single-handedly won games for them. Ever since his rookie season, Rose has not been afraid to go neck and neck with the best players in the game. This season especially, a superstar is being born.
When the Heat came to town on January 15, it was a prime example of Rose competing with the best players in the NBA. Dwyane Wade, returning to his hometown of Chicago put on a show clinic, nearly stealing the win without LeBron James. At the end of the game, with the game on the line, Rose and Wade went back and forth, each one continuing to make the big play. With the Bulls up 90-87 with 1:40 left, Rose swooped his way in for a lay-up before Wade responded with a three pointer. Did you think Rose wasn’t going to respond? The next play, Rose made a jump shot and drew the foul from Mario Chalmers to put the Bulls back up by five.
The Bulls would end up winning the game 99-96, thanks to heroics from Kyle Korver, but the most impressive thing about the game was how Rose was so comfortable and confident to not back down from the best of the NBA.
Rose finished the game with 34 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. Wade finished the game with 33 points four assists, and six rebounds.
Just your average night for the number one pick playing in his hometown.
No. 1: By Not Trading For Carmelo Anthony
Look, don’t get me wrong, Carmelo Anthony is a great player, but I am taking my stand for him not to be a Chicago Bull. Why, you might ask? I’ll tell you why.
Every time a star is on the movie, whether it’s Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Pau Gasol, they are always linked to the Bulls because of their young talent. Each time, it never happens. That’s one of the reasons I’m not getting over excited about Carmelo, because I know it’s not going to happen.
In addition, why split up a Bulls team that is among the best in the NBA and still hasn’t been at full strength all season? In order to land Carmelo, the Bulls would be forced to part ways with Joakim Noah, but is it worth it? No way. I for one, cannot wait to see how good this Bulls team is when Noah returns from injury.
Lastly, trading for Carmelo immediately ends Derrick Rose’s quest for MVP. Carmelo is a scorer who demands the ball and shots, but this is Rose’s team. I get the feeling that Rose doesn’t want the Bulls to bring in another star because this is his team and nobody is going to take that away from him. This summer, when Bulls management asked Rose to reach out to LeBron, Rose responded, “I’ll shoot out a text or something.” Many players want to join forces with superstars, but Rose wants to play against them, and beat them. You can assure yourself that if Carmelo Anthony comes to Chicago that Derrick Rose’s stats will take a hit and his MVP candidacy likewise. Rose wants the ball in his hands at the end of games and so do I.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.