What to make of Rose’s MVP?


Right now, Derrick Rose’s MVP award looks fraudulent. And it is. It was a product of mawkish media obsession, that reflexive chucking of reality in favor of bedtime stories. The entrenched press smugly sneered at the protestations of younger “stat heads,” then went with the “small guard on a team that won more games than expected” option. Whenever confused, bored, or spiteful, they push this button. A statistical revolution just can’t march through the thick ear hair of so many older scribes, mired in myth-making for little engines that can. These writers sometimes arrive at a decent conclusion, but my fear is that they get there by horse and buggy.

The playoffs should not, in theory, inform retroactive judging of regular season judgements. But they do, according to our most powerful memories of David Robinson and Karl Malone. Rose’s awful Miami series made MVP selectors look out of touch, uninformed. And while it would be foolish to hold this up as “proof” of their foolishness, these recent games were illustrative of why the pick was misguided.

But, Derrick has an opportunity to alter the historical memory of his award. Unlike Robinson (who deserved the MVP) and Malone (who deserved the MVP), Rose has room to improve. If Chicago’s thrilling superstar can grow into something skirting transcendence, his MVP accolade might look just fine years from now. His career can validate its premature recognition.

And Rose has that ability, especially if the kid can develop a decent shot. Though I rip the maudlin tendencies of sportswriters, perhaps certain voters were paying Derrick’s MVP forward. Watch him whoosh through the scrum of opposing jerseys and witness the future in the form of a layup. Watch him drive by a defense, jump behind the backboard, and whiz a pass to an open corner three-point shooter. What you’re seeing is the progress of a point guard, flashing his ability to quash pejorative Iverson comparisons.

Derrick Rose is great, even if he is not “a great” just yet. Mistaking what’s on the horizon for what’s right here does not a mirage make.

[Endnote on the side: Not every individual chose Rose for MVP out of dumb sentiment--there are exceptions. I just believe the aggregate choice was mostly born of that impulse. Basic rule: If you chose D-Rose, then I’m sure you reached that conclusion for all the right reasons. Also: Did you know how wise and attractive you are, dear HoopSpeak reader?]

Follow Ethan @SherwoodStrauss

Email: ethanstra@gmail.com

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