Is Derrick Rose a Top 5 NBA Player?

Pakastallion and I had an interesting argument a couple of weeks ago. He asked me whether D-Rose, after being voted as the consensus MVP of the year, was a top 5 player in the NBA. After a little deliberation, I decided that no he was not. I argued that Rose had a great season on a great team this year, but his accomplishments hadn’t vaulted him into the top 5 list yet. He is not yet a great passer (although he is getting there), he has

Discourse isn't Pakistallion's strongest skill

had no playoff success (although he might be getting there too), and much of the Bulls success was predicated on a team defensive scheme built by one of the best defensive coaches this year. I also said that Rose will get there, maybe even very soon, but I still wouldn’t put him over Lebron, Wade, Dirk, Dwight, or Durant. The response to my well thought-out, articulate, intelligent response? “You are a bozo.” Thanks for the feedback Pakistallion.

Despite his lack of debate skills, Pakistallion did bring up an interesting point. According to him, the only mainstays on the top five list are Lebron and Dwight- nobody else deserves automatic consideration. He also contends that if Rose was either a top five player or we have serious complications with our definition of the MVP. So is he right? Is Derrick Rose a top 5 player in the league?

In order to answer this, we have to define what top 5 player means. Is it the 5 most talented players in the league? The 5 most valuable? The 5 players who would go 1-5 if we redrafted the whole league right now? The 5 most successful? Each of these definitions would result in a different list. I couldn’t put Durant or Dirk on the 5 most successful players list and I couldn’t keep Kobe off of it. Yet when I made my final list, Durant and Dirk made it while Kobe didn’t (I’m sure kidveesh will be sending me emails about that). My final decision is that it’s a combination of the lists above: talent, value to team, and success. However, since we’re talking about the top five players in the league, talent matters more.

Derrick Rose was my MVP pick after the year was over. To me the MVP has to be on a successful team, be valuable to their team, and compete statistically with other top players in the league. Their team either needs to exceed expectations or be one of the best teams of the year. Since it requires all this, the MVP is prone to change every year: in 55 years only 12 players have won multiple MVPs. Why would I vote for Rose? He was the best player on the best team, his team remained successful through his efforts when his best teammates were injured, and he’s the leader of his team. The Bulls were not expected to be this good this year and their defense was a surprise, despite the recent hire of Tom Thibodeau.

A top 5 list is completely different: it doesn’t usually change year to year. Lebron, D-Wade, and Dwight Howard have been on the list for years. Dirk has been on and off for the past decade and a strong year and playoffs have put him back on that list. Kobe left the list this year after a bad year and an early exit from the playoffs, while Durant has had a great two-year span, becoming the best scorer in the league. Derrick Rose is a great player, but he can’t compete with that list. He has yet to be a great passer: Nash, Paul, Rondo, and D-Williams are all superior. His team was very successful, yet much of that success was predicated on a team defensive philosophy that won the Celtics a championship in 2008. He isn’t a great shooter yet, although he is getting there (think how scary of a player Rose would be if defenses were forced to fight over screens when they guarded him). If we redrafted the whole league today with the condition that it would only be for one year, I wouldn’t pick Derrick Rose if I had a top 5 pick.

I’m sure at this point Bulls fans hate me. They think I hate Derrick Rose. I don’t. He’s my favorite young player in the league. He’s one of the most athletic point guards I’ve ever seen play. He’ll definitely be a top five player in the league, maybe when these playoffs are over, maybe next year. It’s not a question of if, but when. But at this point his career can’t justify it.

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11 Responses to Is Derrick Rose a Top 5 NBA Player?

  1. Pingback: Is Derrick Rose a Top 5 NBA Player? | 25twofour | | The Bulls StoreThe Bulls Store

  2. Cam The Mavs Fan says:

    I agree with this article almost 100%. No time for explaining my disagreements cuz they’re very minor. That said, Rose has not proven himself to be on that list. I can argue forever about Lebron,D-Wade, and Dirk with people about how they deserve to be there but it’s just a fact at this time. So I’ll make one statement about each. Lebron and Wade are proven team leaders that have learned pretty quickly to share leadership. Dirk has been a player in Dallas who made EVERYONE on his team better, by utilizing his athletic skills as a big man shooter and being a team player.

  3. pakastallion says:

    Haque,

    Fisrt and foremost, I’ll re-think sending you a “I’m too busy to debate this with you, you moron” text next time, for fear of it being the lead image of your article for the week. I’ll start by thanking your for the article. It was well written and it brings to the forefront a nice debate topic. I really enjoyed reading it.

    Having said that, let me adjust the narrative for a second, as I believe you have “unintentionally” and selectively recaptured our discussion. First, we both agreed that we had yet to come to a clear definition of what the “Top 5 Player right now” meant. Also, let’s be clear, according to you at the time (before you got that tingle up your leg watching Dirk send in one of the greatest playoff performance of all-time) your “Top 5 Players TODAY” were as follows: James Howard Wade Kobe and Durrant. Dirk didnt even come up once in the conversation. But for arguments sake, I’ll allow you to amend it, and I’ll address this point later. Also, we didn’t settle on what it meant to be a “top 5 player” as you articulated in your inspiring piece, BUT I did make clear my definition of the top 5 player was based on the 5 best players THIS SEASON. So the debate began under the pretext of: based on what has happened this season, who are your 5 best players. Granted the playoffs hadn’t begun, but we weren’t factoring in things like past success and playoff performance because Kobe would have to be a lock then.

    Okay, now that we hashed out what was actually said, instead of what Haque imaged was said (almost like those window 7 commercials where people recount how they came up with a new feature) lets move on to the debate. Even given this context, I think one could argue for any of the top five on Haque’s list. My point here is not to say X player sucks and shouldn’t be on the list, rather given what happened this season, three spots are locked up, and ill debate the last two spots. I personally would leave Dirk off and debate Wade off. My list at the time (before the world become prisoners of Dirk’s greatness vaulting him in the top 15 of all time): -in this order-

    1)Dylan, 2) Dylan, 3) Dylan, 4) Dylan, and 5 ) Dylan, cause he spits hot fire… ahah .. no really:

    1)LeBron, 2)Howard, 3) Rose, 4) Durant, 5)Kobe/Wade/CP3 -any of the three I’d be okay with RE: http://25twofour.com/2011/04/14/why-the-chicago-bulls-will-not-win-the-championship-in-2011/
    Footnote 7.

    That was at the time. Given everything that has happened in the Playoffs and this season, the only change i’d make is move Kobe off the Top 5, have 5/6 debatable between CP3 and Wade, Push Dirk to 7 and have Kobe at 8 (I know Lakers’ fans, but real is real and Kobe is not Kobe.)

    So back to the Debate: I asked Haque, if a foreign citizen came to this country for the first time, and was taught everything they could learn about basketball, and then watched games throughout this season, who would that person say were the 5 best basketball players. Given this definition, given the overwhelming support Rose received for MVP, I think its fair to say Rose earned his stop in the top 5 FOR THIS season, and this season only. What does this mean, it means in my book there are two spots left open for debate on my top five: JAMES HOWARD and ROSE, for this year only, are locks.

    Given all that, let me rebut the claims against Rose, mainly: he isnt the best passer in the league, isnt a great shooter, and he is the benefactor of a rookie head coach. Let me add one more just to make this interesting: he isnt a great on ball defender. First to say he isnt a great passer seems unfair, but I’ll plug your own point, you named 4 pg’s -whom are all pass first pg’s- that are better than him. Meaning you must think he is good at it not great? I think he is a good passer. We agree here. Of your top five, James is a great passer, Wade, KD, and Dirk are good passers. Next you say he isnt a great shooter, but he a similar career shooting percentage as Durant (this year only, KD .462 from the floor Rose .445 -career KD .462 Rose .468 – obviously KD has a better jumper and more range, but let’s be fair when a dude shoots as much as rose its going to be hard for him to avg. .50 – kobe has never done it.) He also has similar numbers to Wade and James for the career, but this season they both were MUCH better than Rose. Next, you make the argument he was a benefactor of the greatest defensive minds this world has been privileged to see. I agree the team defense concept of Thibs has made Rose look like a better defender than he is, but you conveniently, forget to include the 8+ wins this season, that the Bulls won because Rose said “fuck this, we aren’t losing.” Shit, this response is turning into an article… let me cut it short.

    So in all, if dude X arrived in the US at the start of the season and watched basketball, who would be his top 5 for this year? I think Rose earned his way into that top five. Last parting shot, when was the last time an MVP, who won the award running away, wasn’t considered a top five player for that year??? STEVE NASH, perhaps…, but then again he didn’t win the award running away that season, in fact a bunch of people thought Kobe got jobbed the year Nash won it.

    Your thoughts?

  4. Doc Ibis says:

    Pakastallion,

    D. Rose’s numbers aren’t nearly close to Wade’s career numbers… Beyond MVP support for Rose, Wade is better, Lebron is better… Beyond Duran’t scoring, he’s not as good as Wade or Lebron… Same thing with Dirk, he can score, but what else?

    You sound like a media sheep who lets the media dictate who your “best” player is. CP3 is a better PG than Rose though… Rose’s best season will never come close to Wade’s 2008-09 season… Rose will never have a series like the one Wade just produced against the Celtics… Your points are all based on Rose’s MVP, but what else?

    Doc

    • pakastallion says:

      Doc,

      Truth, Rose’s career numbers aren’t nearly close to Wade’s hence the worn out qualifier “THIS SEASON.” Even then Wade has a strong argument to still be in the top five, I am not denying that. I agree with you on Dirk and Durant, partially, which is why I’m open to debating if they belong in the top five THIS SEASON.

      If giving CP3 his props before the season when everyone down graded him to the third best point guard in the league means being a sheep, then sure sheep I ARE. I never said Rose was a better pure point guard than CP3 this season (or ever for that matter), but I will say the impact Rose has had on his team this season combine with his improved jumper, off ball defense, and late game clutch heroics makes him a worthy candidate/ lock for this season.

      As for comparing Rose’s best season with D-Wades, thanks for that, it was an interesting prediction that I have not taken a position on, but once again, its not about the future or the past it was a question predicated on THIS SEASON.

      Finally, I think, if anything, you help my case by down grading Durant and Dirk, and upgrading Wade. I don’t mind him being in the top five this season, but then there is one slot left and Durant, CP3, Kobe, and Dirk to fight it out.

      As for what Rose has accomplished, there is no need to be silly… in the “THIS SEASON” vacuum he has accomplished the following:

      -Leaders on a team with the best record.
      -Rose is only the third player in the past 30 years to have 2,000 points and 600 assists in one season. LeBron James did that in 2009-10 and Michael Jordan did it in 1988-89.
      -.977 MVP award share (that is pretty close to unanimous)-(while being the youngest EVER to get it)
      -avg: 25/8/4 (rounding up)
      -top ten finish assist per game (10th)
      -top ten scoring per game (7th)
      -Rose joins LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and 4 rebounds in a season.
      -All NBA team 2011 (CP3 was on the third team)

      Do you want me to keep going? Look the point isnt for you to write a response throwing all the accomplishments of Wade THIS SEASON at me; instead, it’s you doing the work and finding me 5 Guys THIS SEASON that have played better than him THIS SEASON… while we made our list before the playoffs started, I don’t mind if you take playoff performance into account and throwing X player at me, do what you gotta do.

      Thanks for the comment, Doc. Let me know what you come up with and maybe we can change each others positions.

      • Doc Ibis says:

        -Leaders on a team with the best record.
        -.977 MVP award share (that is pretty close to unanimous)-(while being the youngest EVER to get it)
        -All NBA team 2011 (CP3 was on the third team)

        These points are why you come across as a media sheep… He was the offensive leader on a team without any other offensive weapons. He’s a liability on the team with the best defense in the league. It’s obvious that Chicago’s defense is the S*IT but there is one guy who can’t guard his position effectively. Who’s that guy? #1… Take him left, take him right, post him up, shoot over him, etc… I know he expends lots of energy on the offensive of end but so do Wade and Lebron…

        You cite a media award that clearly snubbed Lebron to ensure Rose’s place at #1? Lebron should not have been left off of any MVP ballots this year, let alone 7. Wade being left off of over 100 is ridiculous as well, but I understand that two players can’t be MVP on the same team unless they are Co-MVPs…

        I refuse to cite that All-NBA nonsense as proof of a player’s quality. The media/voters decided to put Kobe and Rose on the 1st team over Wade and you’re fine with that because? It’s absolute rubbish and anybody can see it. Citing Rose’s 1st team nod as evidence that he’s better than Chris Paul is the same as saying that because Wade did not get the 1st team nod, he’s not the best combo guard and shooting guard in the Association. You can’t name me one better THIS SEASON or the past 3 seasons. Now, if you can, base it something aside from media awards.

        Doc

      • pakastallion says:

        Let me barrow this line from, nateyb-one of our writers: “Nothing screams I don’t know what I am talking about more than saying,” D. Rose is a LIABILITY on defense OR to imply he is the offensive leader because he is “on a team without offensive weapons,” and not because he is a really good offensive player. Have you even seen one Bulls game? I am not going to argue how great a defender Rose is because I have conceded he’s no GP, (although Rose is a good off-ball defender), but to even suggest he is “the one guy” who can’t guard his position effectively on the Bulls, is beyond comical… do some research, and come back to me when you correct that one.

        Also, there seems to be a theme here: you make up a statement that I didn’t say, and then counter it. I never said ANYTHING about Rose being #1. I never said I agreed with Wade not being on the first team. I didn’t cite Rose on the first team to say he is better than CP3. Lastly, I never said Wade wasn’t the “best combo guard and shooting guard in the Association.” Your friends must HATE debating with you because you tend to make stuff up and rebut it, the problem here is we wrote out our responses, a quick read through will show you are the classic “let me make stuff up and rebut it, so I look like I know what I am talking about” dude.

        Finally, while I think its incredibly silly to just outright dismiss accolades handed out by the evil media, what say you about the stats I presented which you flagrantly neglected? You asked: “now, if you can, base it [on] something aside from media awards.” Team wins … have nothing to do with the media. Being one of three people in the last 30 years (one of five in the history of the league) to have over 2000 points, 600 assists, and 300 rebounds in one season … has nothing to do with the media. Finishing top 10 in scoring and top 7 in assists … has nothing to do with the media. Being one of only 7 players to EVER avg 25/7.5/4 … has nothing to do with the media. Making or assisting on at least half of the Bulls’ field goals in 26 games, the highest such total for any NBA player this season … has nothing to do with the media.

        The defense rests its case. Peel out, bro. Thanks for playing. Keep the comments coming; we enjoy looking smarter than we are.

  5. Kote says:

    Bron got jobbed harder than Kobe did by Nash. Nash winning two MVP’s made the award completely irrelevant.

    Here’s a scenario: two savvy veterans get to build a 5 man roster for a tournament. Do you as the veteran take CP3, an efficiency monster who is clearly the best point guard in the league or a volume shooting athletic freak? Right Cp3. Ok, Veteran two your decision is harder. Do you take D will or D rose? Not the easy knee jerk decision you would expect considering one had an off season and the other won MVP. My point is that while D Rose is arguably the most fun player to watch right now, that does not make him the best player. The media narrative has gotten out of control. The 9 people who left Lebron off of their MVP ballots (not even the 5th most deserving player of MVP? come on) shouldn’t be allowed to vote again. Lets stop trying to make Rose into more than he is at this point and enjoy his talent.

    • pakastallion says:

      Kote,

      All i know is kobe got jobbed, hopefully Haque will say a few words to defend his BOI – Nash (whom to be fair, is among my fav players of this generation-this decade-K.west.) I’m guessing I’ll address this comment, since you seem to be in line with Haque. I appreciate the scenario you presented, but its not at all clear who i’d take. I think a lot of it has to do with what type of player I was. So if I were a banger that couldnt score much but was great at defense and efficeint inside 5 feet, I’d take Rose, bet that. However if I were a scorer, I’d take CP3 or even Dwill (no doubt). My point isnt to say D.Rose is THE best pure PG out of the three; instead what im getting at is based on this season, of those who palyed the best? Who did the most for their team to win. Who was most valuable to their team. Try the foreigner that comes to the US example… Pretend dude knows nothing about basketball or the history of the players, and is taught the game, and then asked to observe the three for just this year in a vacumm. Based on that criteria, give me Rose.

      If you are asking straight up who is the best “pure/traditional PG,” I think it is CP3 no question and then prob D.Will then Rose. If you are asking me who played the best basketball THIS SEASON, of those three it was Rose.

      Who ya got in your top five this season?

      thanks for the comment.

      @Haque, I promise to stop hijacking your thread, no more comments from me …. haha

      • kidveesh says:

        The MVP is not often a statistical award. It’s often judged by speculatively removing a player from his team and then estimating how well that would succeed without that player.

        If you remove Bron from the Heat (and for the record, I do think he is a better player than Rose), the Heat will still win ~50 games in the east. If you remove Rose from the Bulls, I have them at ~44. That’s essentially a difference of 8 wins for the Heat and 16 for the Bulls. So the “jobbed” argument is definitely valid if you look at it from a statistical frame of reference; however, that is not generally the case.

  6. sean adams says:

    Thats ridiculous. if i had the number one pick i wud take derrick rose. he is younger than everybody on that list. u can easily build a team around him. and he has nowhere to go but up. dirk is almost done with his career and lebron is a professional choke artists. kevin durant wud be my second pick.

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