Isn't the only reason Rose is the leading MVP candidate right now because the Bulls are suddenly relevant and it makes for the best story?
Pretty much, but it's also a case of connecting dots that sound good but aren't necessarily true -- i.e., the Bulls are having a great year (true), the Bulls only have one great player (true), therefore the Bulls would be garbage without that player (false), and thus that player has the most value (also false).
Q:What could possibly be your argument against Rose as MVP OTHER than PER?
A:You mean, besides the fact we're giving it to the key offensive player on the league's 15th-best offense, when the story of the team's surprise season has been their top-rated defense, and he's been the worst defender on the team in terms of plus-minus ... for the second time in three years? Must just be my irrational hater bias at work again.
Obviously Rose looks like the MVP based on the fact that they weren't expected to be this good, and also Noah and Boozer missed many games. And other then Boozer, no one else is elite offensively besides Rose. It seems that Rose carried this team.
A:"Seems" being the operative logic this year ... look, Rose is a great player, and he's offset my earlier criticism about not getting to the line by drawing a lot more fouls. But the Bulls are winning because of their awesomely good defense, and he's played a minor role in that story.
Q:I know you're not a big DRose fan, but to say that he has not been one of the top 5 players in the league this year is shocking. No one thought the Bulls were going to be this good even if healthy. At what point do you factor in leading your team to victories?
A:OK, Bulls fans, if you want to take this line of reasoning ... I mean, is the rest of your team crap, or is it not? Because to me Rose's argument sort of hinges on whether you think the rest of the team is any good. I happen to think the Bulls' bench, in particular, is shockingly good, and the plus-minus numbers seem to back that up. Thoughts from the crowd?
Hollinger has some rational arguments under his usual ranting, but I guess the only way Rose is not getting the award is if the Bulls drop to the 3rd seed in the East. Then it'd go to whoever holds the #2 seed in the West. Yes, that would even mean that Kobe might get it.. undeservingly so.
Hollinger is an idiot. This article sums it up for me.
Derrick Rose vs. Tom Thibodeau: Who's More Responsible for Team's Turnaround? By Kelly Scaletta (Bulls Featured Columnist) on March 16, 2011
Lately the debate has been brought up "who is more responsible for the Bulls success," Derrick Rose or Tom Thibodeau? ESPN writer and statistician, John Hollinger writes (insider only) about how the credit should go to Tom Thibodeau.
It seems that in his incessant need to taint Rose he wrote an entire article where he provides three big reasons that the Bulls have been so successful. Those reasons are the coaching, the defense and the production by the bench. Now I'll grant that there's a tremendous amount of credit that should go to those things, but to not even list Rose as a reason the Bulls are successful looks like just digging a trench and embedding yourself in a position.
Hollinger points out that the Bulls offense is only 15th in the NBA, by definition average, but their defense is first in the NBA, therefore the defense, not the offense is the reason. In the article he points to Omer Asik leading the team in defensive points per possession and that Rose is only in the middle in terms of points per possession.
"The Bulls give up just more than a point per possession with any of their five starters on the court, but with the second unit, it's a different story. When Taj Gibson is on the floor, opponents score .994 points per trip. When Ronnie Brewer plays, they muster just .956. When C.J. Watson plays, the number drops to .938."
In a recent chat Hollinger calls out Rose's defense stating, in answer to Ryan from LA's question regarding what his argument against Rose could be for MVP?
Hollinger bristles in response, "You mean, besides the fact we're giving it to the key offensive player on the league's 15th-best offense, when the story of the team's surprise season has been their top-rated defense, and he's been the worst defender on the team in terms of plus-minus...for the second time in three years?" Must just be my irrational hater bias at work again."
First, Hollinger is wrong, Rose isn't the worst in terms of defensive plus/minus. He's second worst. Luol Deng is worst. Then again the whole argument is complete nonsense because both Rose and Deng have played a thousand minutes more than anyone else on the team.
This does bring about the biggest misconception that there is about Derrick Rose though, that he's only an offensive player. Part of the reason for the Bulls defensive success is Derrick Rose.
In fact while Hollinger is doling out all the credit to Thibodeau for Roses' defense he should take a moment to listen to what Thibs says about Rose's defense, "The things that he is doing out on the court are amazing," Thibodeau said. "I think when you look at his skill set, the way he combines his athleticism, his speed, quickness, strength and now you add to it his shooting. The biggest thing is defensively he's made huge strides all season long. Just the way he's running the team; he's playing a complete game. He's doing so many things that help you win."
Did you see that? Tom Thibodeau, the defensive guru and the architect of the two best defenses in the NBA says that the biggest improvement in a player who has elevated his offensive game to MVP status is his defense. In fact when you're not looking at the ridiculous plus-minus stats that Hollinger wants to quote (which would "prove" that Carlos Boozer is a better interior defender than Joakim Noah) and look at more pertinent defensive stats you start to realize that Rose's defense is part of the reason the Bulls defense is so great.
Part of Hollinger's argument is that he's comparing bench defense with starters defense. The reason this a flawed is that generally speaking, starters defend starters and benches defend benches. There's a big difference between defending Chris Paul and Jarret Jack.
When you look at the defensive ratings of the starting point guards in the NBA, only Rajon Rondo (99) and Chris Paul (101) are giving up fewer points per 100 possessions than Rose (102). Rajon Rondo and Chris Pal are no surprise as they are generally regarded as the two best defensive point guards in the NBA.
However even that has its flaws and it could be working either way. That measures points allowed by the team. It doesn't take into account whom those points were scored on. If Carlos Boozer gets dunked on that comes down on Derrick Rose. If Kevin Garnett alters a shot, Rajon Rondo gets credit.
When you look at points per play, where you're specifically talking abut the plays specifically run on a particular player, now you're looking at a players specific defense. Here are the specific points per play number for the three point guards from synergy sports. The last column, percent scored is the percent of time the offensive player scores a field goal or gets to the line.
Player Plays Points per Play Percent Scored
Chris Paul 668 0.88 38.3%
Derrick Rose 756 0.78 35.6%
Rajon Rondo 644 0.79 36.3%
Based on this you could make a pretty credible argument that Derrick Rose is not only a good defensive point guard but also the best of the three. Considering the other two are considered the best at their position, you could argue that Rose is the best defensive point guard in the league. He surrenders fewer points per play, and is scored upon the lowest percentage of the time.
Whether you accept that or not, let's at least dismiss the notion that Derrick Rose is a defensive liability and that the Bulls defense is succeeding "in spite" of him. When opposing offenses run plays directly at Rose they fail 64.4 percent of the time. His defensive points per play allowed is the lowest of any starting guard in the NBA. Derrick Rose contributes to the defensive success of the team.
Having dispatched the notion that the Bulls defensive success and Derrick Rose are two separate entities, let's look at the other half of the Hollinger argument, that the Bulls are only 15th in the NBA in offensive efficiency.
If the Bulls are more limited on offense doesn't that mean that Derrick Rose's offensive contributions are more valuable? It's sort of backwards thinking to say that because they are more of a defensive team that the offense, i.e. Rose are less valuable. Derrick Rose, either through scoring or passing, is responsible for 45.1 percent of the Bulls offense this season. That's the most of any player in the NBA.
It should also be taken into account that the offense is improving. Prior to the start of the new year the Bulls were 22nd in the NBA in offensive efficiency. Since the start of the new year the Bulls have an offensive rating of 109.9. That would put them as ninth, just behind the Mavericks and ahead of the Suns. That's not a coincidence. When Hollinger made his statement yesterday the Bulls were 15th in offensive rating. Today they're 14th.
Prior to the new year Rose's scoring efficiency was 1.18, below the league average of 1.22. Since then it's been 1.27. The reason for the turnaround is that Rose studied the film and realized what he needed to do to change his game to draw more contact and get to the line more often. His average free throws per game went up by 40 percent.
Then you factor in the intangibles. When Derrick Rose passes out of isolation his teammates shoot with effective field goal percentage of over 54 percent, and that stat was from before the Bulls hit a team record 30 three point shots in back to back games.
His ability to get into the lane causes defenses to collapse on him and that leaves players open for shots. Lately teams have started to stack the lane on Rose. Since the All-Star break the Bulls have increased their average makes from long range from 5.9 to 7.4.
Part of the offensive improvement through the season is a direct result of the improvement in Rose's game, and since the defense has been great all year, then the credit for the recent climb in the standings from third to first in the Eastern Conference should go to the improvement in the offense.
Having said that, let's not dismiss Thibodeau's value to the offense either. The offense is a bit more complicated than the defense, being a bit of hybrid of the drive and kick offense run by Steve Nash in Phoenix and the flex offense run which was run by the Jazz under Jerry Sloan.
The offense emphasizes breaking down the defense off the penetration by Rose who takes a shot, passes into the lane, or kicks it out to an open shooter, or else the ball is swung around the perimeter to an open shooter. Before the All-Star break 57 percent of Bulls field goals were assisted, since the All-Star break 62 percent of Bulls field goals are assisted.
Furthermore since the All-Star break the offensive rebounds are up from 11.4 to 14.3 which is in large part due to the return to the lineup of Joakm Noah. This is one of the factors that efficiency geeks overlook. Rose's shot choices are in part based on the positioning of Noah. He'll take a riskier shot if he sees Noah is well positioned to get the offensive rebound. This is by the coaching and design of Thiboeau.
This indicates that part of the reason for the Bulls offensive success of late has something to do with the system as well as Rose. As the team is figuring out how to improve the ball movement, chose shot selection, and take advantage of their offensive rebounding the Bulls are improving offensively.
Hollinger's argument fails because it's based on a faulty premise, that the Bulls defense (Thibodeau) is the reason the Bulls are winning and not the offense (Rose). The premise is faulty for two reasons. First in that it dismisses the offensive improvement as the reason for the Bulls success.
Since Rose figured out how to get to the line the Bulls are 30-9, the best record in the NBA over that span. Prior to that they were 18-9, very good, but not this good. You simply can't take the offensive improvement through the season out of the equation.
The other reason that Hollinger's argument is specious though is he tries to parse Rose and the offense from Thibodeau and the defense. However Rose is a key component on the defense and Thibs designed the offense. Both deserve a ton of credit for what they've done on both sides of the ball.
Asking who deserves more credit for the Bulls success is like asking if the gas or engine gets credit for making the car go. You need both. And yes, you need a lot of other things to, like tires and wheels and so on. The Bulls also have a bunch of other role players that fill their roles and that's also a big part of the reason the Bulls are doing so well.
Hollinger argues that Rose isn't the only one contributing to the team and that Bulls fans don't give the rest of the team enough credit. He may have a point there. I don't know that the Bulls are a "lottery team" without Rose.
Luol Deng is the ultimate glue guy. Joakim Noah brings energy, defense and offensive rebounding. Kyle Korver is the sniper. Ronnie Brewer is the stopper. Carlos Boozer is the low post scorer. There's no shortage of contributors to the team and that's going to be true of any team that's in contention for title.
The thing is though that there's no award for "OVP" or "Only Valuable Player." The award goes to Most Valuable Player. Orlando and Miami aren't one man teams either. There's no question that Derrick Rose is the most valuable player on the Bulls, and in the NBA. A large part of the reason Rose is so valuable is the coaching of Tom Thibodeau, yes, but that doesn't dismiss the value of Rose.
They happy resolution here is that we don't need to chose between them. Both are deserving, and provided they hold on to the first seed, both should be awarded the respective hardware. Historically it's never been mutually exclusive to have the MVP and COY from the same team. For the 12th time in NBA history both awards should go to the same team. Rose is the MVP and Thibodeau is the COY.
I still think Rose will win it this year, as long as the Bulls don't drop behind Boston and Miami.
Sure, Chicago's defense is better, but Rose definitely elevated his game a notch. He has improved every year since he's been in the league.
People are looking way too much into this. What has been the consensus of Most Valuable Players the last couple decades?
1. Part of a team that achieved success above expectations.
2. Part of a team that has a top record in the league.
3. Is the best player on that team.
4. Is the one making the decisions / shots with the ball in his hands in crunch time.
5. Personal statistical improvement directly correlates to team improvement.
6. Statistically one of leagues best players.
Rose has all of them checked. Nuff said. None of the other MVP Candidates can say that. The Heat was expected to be border-line contender, and Lebron has choked way too many times in crunch time this season. Howard's magic does not have one of the best records in the league and they are performing worse than last season. Kobe's Laker's are the defending champions with roughly the same roster + a healthy Bynum now, and yet there barely at the second seed.
I'm not saying there's no debate. There is always a debate, especially this season. But to make it appear as if Rose does not deserve to be in the discussion or viewed as a candidate is just utterly ridiculous.