It’s All Star Weekend and the halfway point of the 2010-2011 NBA season. While some things stay the same like the Lakers and Celtics being contenders for the championship, a few things are different about this season, aside from James and Wade lighting it up on the same team.
One major difference this weekend is that thanks to Blake Griffin, tonight, everyone is actually looking forward to the NBA Dunk Competition. Some things remain the same though, since the beginning of the season everyone is still talking about where Carmelo Anthony will end up. Perhaps the biggest change in the norm is the emergence or budding of Derrick Rose as a new name to add into the yearly NBA MVP discussion.
For Rose, there’s no other way to describe what he’s been doing this season for the Chicago Bulls other than three letters, M.V.P.
In a season where the Bulls started with a depleted roster with injuries to two allstar caliber players in Noah and Boozer, somehow the Bulls aren’t just in contention, but are amongst the leaders in the Eastern Conference. For his stellar play in the first half of the season, Derrick Rose became the first Chicago Bull to be named to the starting line-up of the Eastern Conference All Stars since the GOAT, or for you younger cats that don’t know any better, since Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever, period.
You can throw Derrick Rose’s name into the MVP bucket along with Lebron James, D. Wade, Kobe, Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Dirk. Go ahead and call him the Rose that grew out of the concrete. Because when you look at what Rose was working with for much of the first half, passing the rock to Deng, Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas, Keith Bogans, and Kyle Korver, and then you look at his stats of almost 25ppg and 8 dimes, and the fact the team sits on top of the Eastern Conference; yup, he’s ballin.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Rose is that this is only his third season in the league. If there was any doubt about just how good Derrick Rose is, then his 42 point exclamation mark to beat the Spurs, the NBA’s best team, last night should have silenced the haters.
A lot of the credit has to go Coach Tom Thibodeau who is almost a lock at this point for Coach of the Year. The Bulls have gone from barely making the playoffs a year ago, to one of the best teams in the conference and Thibodeau’s defense has been a big part of that. You can’t understate just how good Thibodeau is, and has been. As a defensive coach, he helped the Houston Rockets rank among the Top 5 in the league in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense from 2004 to 2007. And it was Thibodeau who was part of that defensive genius that saw the 00-01 Knicks hold 33 consecutive teams under 100 points. The Bulls seem to have bought into Thibodeau’s defensive philosophy and with Noah returning from injury after the All Star break, Bulls fans are getting that championship feeling again.
If the Bulls finish top 3 in the East, there’s no question that Rose should be the MVP. That said, if the Thunder go on a tear in the second half of the season and finish second or first in the west, it’s hard to see Durant not getting the award.
And of course, if both the Bulls and the Thunder go to shit in the second half, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the league does what they always do and give it to Lebron James.