The Ascension of Derrick Rose

Since the 2008 NBA Draft, Derrick Rose has been better than advertised. Over the past three seasons, we have seen him grow like a rose from concrete. And now he is in the race for MVP.

The race for MVP will be congested with great players: Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. They are all deserving candidates of the MVP.

But what is the M-V-P?

If we define the MVP as the best player in the league, then I don't think Derrick wins it. But if we define the MVP as the most valuable player to his team, I think Derrick wins this hands-down. Jesse Dorsey at Bleacher Report analyzed these two schools of thought and compared Lebron to DRose for MVP.

Let's take a look at how our rose has grown in the past three seasons...

True shooting percentage (shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws)

Assist % (percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on on the floor) - We see Derrick assisting on 40% of scoring, a drastic improvement from when he first entered the league.

Offensive Rating (points produced per 100 possessions) - scoring more per 100 possessions, this is a good thing.

Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) - Derrick is holding opponents to 102 points per 100 possessions. The declining trend line means that his defense has gotten better...this could be a product of Coach Tom Thibodeau's defensive mindset.

The assist percentage, true shooting percentage, offensive rating, defensive rating, what does it all mean?!?!?!

Bottom line, Derrick's win shares (number of wins contributed by a player) have increased the past three seasons. His production is responsible (at the time of this writing) for 10.2 wins.

According to win shares, Derrick may be farther down the list of winning the MVP ...

Here's the caveat: Every player competing for the MVP (aside from DRose) has regressed in win shares since last season. According to last years numbers, Dwyane(13), Lebron(18.5), Dirk(12.3), Dwight(13.2), Kobe(9.4) and Kevin(16.1) all had higher win shares in 2009-10. Take Lebron for instance; his win share last season was 18.5. But this year, since he's on a team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his win share fell to 12.7. This means that Lebron's skills aren't necessarily regressing but his responsibility is. We see the opposite with DRose - instead of regression, we see improvement and more responsibility.

The best part of Derrick Rose being in the MVP race isn't the fact that he could win it, it's the fact that our rose hasn't even blossomed yet.

(Image courtesy of: Kevin Allison)

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