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After a few posts about Derrick Rose this season, it’s time to admit that I’ve chosen him as MVP of the NBA in 2010-2011.  I still say that Derrick doesn’t have as good of numbers as LeBron James or even Dwight Howard, but as long as the award is called most valuable player, not top player, it should go to Derrick Rose.

Rose came into the league with blinding speed, a huge vertical, the ability to finish at the rim, and great basketball instincts.  There were concerns about his jump shot and his defense.  And the concerns were real, Rose couldn’t shoot from deep, didn’t show that he was committed to defense but still made sloppy turnovers. 

So Rose spent all summer on his jump shot.  His form was good, but he needed more reps.  In 76 games, Rose has 120 three’s, after only making 16 last year.  His shooting has progressed at the free throw line, too.  He went from 77% to 85% in one season.  That improvement alone would be incredible for a player, let alone a superstar.  But Derrick wasn’t done yet.

Although his shooting percentage has dropped to .441, his true shooting percentage (TS%) has risen by a percentage point due to his ability to get to the line.  Rose has averaged 6.8 trips to the line this year, up from 4.3 the year before.  Combine the frequent trips to the line with the improved free throw shooting, and you have a very efficient player.

When watching his defense, you often hear Stacey King yell out “that’s your point guard, Neil Funk!”  Rose makes plays that a point guard just shouldn’t make.  He has had multiple highlight reel blocks, including a stretch where he had a block in 9 consecutive games.  He’s gotten his hand more and more into the passing lane, and it’s usually followed by an easy two.  His steals have gone from 0.7 to 1.1 and his blocks have gone from 0.3 to 0.6.  0.6 is not great overall, but it is for a point guard.

Watching the progression of a superstar has been a treat.  Even if he wins the MVP, this won’t be his best season.  That’s what’s scary about Rose, and shows how great he can be. 

They say a true superstar makes one part of his game amazing over a summer.  With the rate that Derrick is going, it could be two or three things each summer.  Sure, Rose could cut down on the turnovers.  Sure, Rose could increase his two-point percentage and become more consistent with his jumpshot.  But, all those things will come with time. 

The hype is real, folks.