Rose getting the MVP the right way

Here's the thing that most people miss in the MVP debate: Derrick Rose does exactly what his team needs him to do to win. Exactly.

He developed the precise skills he needed last summer (like three point shooting, defense) and he's been playing the game exactly the way his coach wants him to play and his team needs in order to win. Exactly.

He isn't perfect, he's still growing as a player and he makes mistakes just like any other great player. But he doesn't have any patterns of play that arguably hurt the team, like some other elite players have. You could argue that Lebron's sense of entitlement and his "me first" mentality in the clutch hurt his team earlier in the year when he kept taking the last shot and kept missing. A great player, but he didn't do the right thing to help his team win. You could argue that Howard's complaining about lack of help may have caused his team to make a really bad set of trades at the deadline, acquiring flawed, overpriced and injured players like Gilbert freaking Arenas. His play has been great, but his attitude was at least part of the reason for this move.

Rose always says the right thing. He's on board with everything his coach wants. He criticizes his own play even when his team won, and he vows to get better. He leads the team by example and by what he says. Everyone on the team clearly absolutely loves playing with him, acknowledges him as their leader in spite of his young age, and feeds off his drive to win. I can't think of a single example of something Rose ever said that could possibly be construed to be detrimental to the team dynamic.

The Bulls have great defensive players, and have a coach who wants to focus on defense first. Thibs probably loves the fact that Rose's offensive talent (along with the team's unselfish sharing of the ball) allows the team to focus on defense for most of practice. There's no way the Bulls defense would be this good if they had to design and practice lots of complex offensive sets to get lesser talented players who can't create for themselves good shots. Thibs can run a pick and roll (which is a standard play for any NBA player) or he can spread the floor and let Rose drive into the middle of the lane to score or pass to an open shooter. Give the ball to Rose, run a decent NBA quality play, and you're pretty sure good things will happen. Rose's abilities give Thibs that confidence.

You could argue that he needs to increase his field goal percentage, he needs to be a little more selective with the three, and so on. There's plenty to nit pick about anyone's game, and Rose is no exception. But his field goal percentage is high enough in spite of the triple teams and the threat he poses opens up his teammates enough for easy scores that the Bulls win. You can't argue convincingly that his field goal percentage costs the Bulls games. They need him to shoot at the volume he does, he throws up the half-court heaves at the ends of quarters, he needs to shoot at the end of shot clocks, because it helps te team win. It might make his percentage suffer, but so be it.

It would be nice if he hit 40% of his threes, sure. But he's enough of a threat from deep that defenses can't sag. This allows him to penetrate for the high percentage shot or the pass. His three point shooting numbers aren't great, but they aren't terrible, they are good enough to get the job done. The Bulls don't need him to be Ray Allen.

I'm not saying Rose is a perfect player, by any means. But he's a great one. There are lots of great players in the NBA. But not all of them do whatever it takes to win. They don't adapt their style of play to what the coach wants as seamlessly as Rose has done. On team USA he didn't need to score, he just needed to play defense, run the offense and set up extremely talented teammates. He did. They won.

On the Bulls this year, they need him to take up the scoring load, run the offense and find open teammates when he's doubled. They need him to be clutch in close games because he's far and away the best on the team in creating his own shot, the best finisher, especially in the clutch, and arguably the best decision maker with the ball. He does all those things. They win.

They need him to tire out the opposing elite point guard on offense, and direct him to the baseline into big man help on defense. He's routinely outplayed his opposing matchup on both ends of the floor.

Whether you are a homer and think Rose is the best player in the league, or whether you think he's good but a player like Lebron is more talented, you have to admit that Rose says the right things, does the right things, plays the right way and gets results the way no other player in the league has done this year. He's the MVP.

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