Sports

Despite competition, Rose is better MVP

Now that the NBA playoffs are underway, it is also time to crown the regular-season winners for the various NBA awards — none greater than the Most Valuable Player award. Many commentators and NBA fans have already decided on who the MVP should be, and the almost universal pick for this prestigious award is the Chicago Bulls’ starting point guard, Derrick Rose.

The rise of both the Bulls and Rose this year is well documented. The team finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record, and Rose increased his scoring by five points, his three-point percentage by 7 percent, and his assists by 1.7 per game. For a team that was the eighth seed just a year ago, the Bulls’ atomic rise through the standings has been one of the biggest stories of the year in the NBA.

So, with such a great improvement for an already good player and a team that has the best record in the league, D-Rose is clearly the MVP, right? Not so fast.

Although I do think Rose should be the MVP of the league this year, it’s a tragedy that Dwight Howard has not gotten more support for it. Howard, who was just named the Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight year, has become the whole Orlando team. As seen in the playoffs, no one else on the team can bring the Magic to a victory over a good team other than Howard. Known as “Superman,” Howard had 45 points and 19 rebounds in Game 1 against the same Atlanta Hawks team that the Magic destroyed just last year in the second round of the playoffs, but the Magic still somehow lost. I know the playoffs don’t count for these regular-season awards, but voters simply can’t overlook what is happening in Orlando. Howard also increased his scoring per game, and he is the first player in league history to lead the league in rebounds and blocks two years in a row.

With the improvement of both players this season, it’s tough to give out this award purely based on stats. Both players do so much for their teams, and at entirely different positions as well. Many people decide who the Most Valuable Player should be by trying to determine who actually means the most to his team, which always presents a good argument. If this route is how the MVP is chosen, Howard clearly means more to his team. Few people realize that D-Rose has a lot of help in Chicago, with extremely good role players like Kyle Korver, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah helping him shoulder the load. For the Magic, there is a solid point guard in Jameer Nelson and a few aging stars in Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu, who are well past their prime. Both players averaged 26 percent of their team’s total points, yet Howard’s impact on the defensive side of the ball is clearly more valuable to the team than Rose’s impact.

Additionally, people tend to overlook the impact of the Bulls’ new coach, Tom Thibodeau. “Tibs,” as he is known, has brought a defensive mindset to the Bulls that only a few coaches in the league can teach. Just a year ago, the Bulls were a middle-of-the-pack defensive team, and they are now the No. 1 defense in the league by far. Factor in that they signed a subpar defensive player in Boozer, and the impact of Tibs cannot be underestimated. Meanwhile, Howard plays on a team with no other good defenders, and he has to man the paint while his teammates routinely put him in bad positions against some of the best guards in the league. Again, Howard’s defensive presence cannot be taken lightly.

However, despite the facts and arguments presented, Rose is the NBA MVP. With the leadership he has shown this season, along with his uncanny ability to end games with ridiculous drives to the basket, Rose has earned the right to this award. One could argue that without Rose’s attitude towards defense, this team may have not taken on the personality of its coach and wouldn’t be close to the best defensive team in the league. Rose leads his team with toughness, willingness to learn, and his unmatched desire to become the best player he can be. I definitely agree with the public on Rose, but NBA fans need to take the time to realize just how good Superman’s season also was.