Monday, April 4, 2011

Should Derrick Rose be the MVP? (Part 1 of 3)

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Since the Chicago Bulls' scintillating post All-Star break run, Derrick Rose has emerged as the frontrunner for MVP.  But does he deserve the award?

Past Winners
Looking at the past 15 winners, voters have generally voted in two kinds of MVPs: the Best Player type and the Great Story type.

Best Player types: Think of the best two or three teams in the league.  Now, who is the best player out of those teams?  Vote him for MVP!
Examples: LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan


Great Story types: Take only the great teams that did much better this season than last season.  Now, who is the best player on those teams?  He must be the reason they improved, vote him for MVP!
Examples: LeBron James (21-game improvement), Kobe Bryant (15 games), Steve Nash* (33 games), Allen Iverson (7 games), Shaquille O'Neal (lockout-adjusted 16 games)

Now, it's open to speculation which type of MVP is the true "Most Valuable Player" (I'm a fan of the Best Player approach, but that's for another post).  Our question is:

Where is Derrick Rose in this?
Is he one or the other, neither, or a rare consensus MVP candidate?

Derrick Rose has fan support, but is he really the most valuable player in the league?
Derrick Rose: Best Player or Great Story?
First, the good: The Bulls are a great team, and Derrick Rose is the best player on that team.
- The Bulls are 56-20 overall, first in the East
- The Bulls are on pace for a 19-win improvement over last season
- Of the other top-4 seeds, only the Miami Heat have improved more from last season
- Derrick Rose leads the team with 25.1 points and 7.9 assists per game
- He also leads the team in PER (23.7), Win Shares (12.1) and Win Shares per 48 minutes (0.206)

Great things all around.  But compared to the other 7 top-4 seeds...
- Rose is 5th in points and 4th in assists per game
- Rose is 5th in PER, 5th in Win Shares, and 6th in Win Shares per 48 minutes


Basically, if you made a team of the best players on the best 8 teams in the league, Rose would be fighting for the last spot.  We have to conclude that, if elected, he would be a Great Story and not a Best Player.

Or is he...?

(To be continued)