Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
Fan’s take: Is Derrick Rose the worst NBA MVP candidate front-runner ever?
The din is deafening. The chorus of supporters grows daily. It seems everywhere you turn there's another story written pushing for it. Endless reports on ESPN, TNT, Fox Sports, and every other media outlet expound the view it's a done deal. Fans across the nation clamor for everyone to accept it as if it was fated. Even a video of "experts" at Yahoo! proclaims it. All saying the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose(notes) is the 2011 NBA MVP.
Not that he should be, not that he will be, but that he is already.
Forget the voting. Don't worry a bit about the rest of the season. Engrave Rose's name on that Maurice Podoloff Trophy right now and be done with it. Don't worry about doing any real analysis of the top players in the NBA like current MVP LeBron James(notes), his teammate Dwyane Wade(notes), Orlando's Dwight Howard(notes), Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki(notes), and others. None of them matter.
None of their accomplishments this season are worth spit.
After all, his "Airness" Michael Jordan has already anointed Rose MVP. As Jordan put it, "He's the MVP for the season. He deserves it. He's playing that well. And if he doesn't get it, you'll see how I felt a lot of years." Isn't that enough?
If not, then how about the endorsement of championship-winning coaches Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson? Both have jumped on the Rose-for-MVP-Bandwagon with real gusto. It's almost enough to make one believe they think it might benefit them in some way by doing so.
However, no matter how much his supporters continue to shout "M.V.P." at every home game; no matter how great the number of talking heads in the media stating as if it was gospel he is the uncontested front-runner; no matter how many coaches or players come out and say he deserves it, the fact remains that if Derrick Rose is voted MVP for the 2011 NBA season, he will be the least-deserving winner of the award in its history.
Not only that, he, and every voter who votes for him, will have cheated far more deserving candidates out of their chance at the award this year, solely because he's the current flavor of the month and media darling.
John Hollinger of ESPN has devised a very good statistical rating system called the Player Efficiency Rating, or PER.
The reference guide for his rating system shows that a player with a PER of 35 has had a year for the ages. Any player who's come up with a PER of 30 or better should be a runaway MVP candidate (just as LeBron James was for the 2008-09 NBA season with a PER over 30, despite fabulous years by Kobe Bryant(notes) and Dwyane Wade).
In order to qualify as a strong MVP candidate, a player must have a PER over 27.5, and a weak MVP candidate would be a player with a PER over 25 but less than 27.5.
Anyone below 25 isn't even considered an MVP candidate at all, although they are considered a bona fide All-Star if their PER is over 22.5.
Going back over the list of MVPs throughout the years, you'll almost invariably find players whose PER was close to, if not above 30; at least over 25 every time. This is because these candidates were worthy winners of the award, and their play on the court, not their popularity among a bunch of idiotic so-called "experts" at ESPN and other media outlets who wanted them to win, determined their being chosen.
Derrick Rose's PER this season? A paltry 23.01.
Now, of course PER isn't the only thing that should be looked at to determine an MVP candidate. How that player's team is doing in the standings is easily an equally important factor. Stoudemire may be above Rose in PER, but his Knicks are nowhere near the Bulls in the standings, and judging from their play of late, might actually finish with the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The fact Chicago is currently tied with the Boston Celtics atop the Eastern Conference is one of the main reasons listed by most of Rose's supporters for why he is so deserving.
However, Kobe Bryant's defending champion Los Angeles Lakers' record is nearly identical to Rose's, and his PER is, like Stoudemire's, more than half a point better than the diminutive Bull's at 23.65.
Dirk Nowitzki's Dallas Mavericks also have a record nearly the equal of the Bulls, and the power forward from Texas' PER is nearly a point and a half higher than the Chicago point guard's.
Oklahoma City may trail Chicago in the standings by a few games, but they boast two players, Russell Westbrook(notes) and Kevin Durant(notes) who both have PERs much higher than Derrick's at 23.73 and 24.09 respectively.
The only player on Hollinger's PER list at ESPN even approaching the mark of 27.5 that indicates a strong MVP candidate? LeBron James of the Miami Heat, who just happens to have a teammate whose PER (25.06) is one of three in the NBA above 25 (the other being Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic at 25.05), the threshold to even be considered an MVP candidate at all.
Now, granted, stats aren't the be all and end all for discussions on who the MVP should be. However, you have to ask yourself a serious question. Why is Rose considered a runaway candidate for the award by so many people when his stats are so weak?
After all, he's shooting a pathetic 43.8 percent from the field compared to LeBron's 50.1 percent, Wade's 49.6, Howard's 59.7, and Nowitzki's 52.9. Even Durant's 46.7 and Bryant's 45.3 percent make Rose's shooting percentage look sickening.
Mark Twain is quoted as once saying, "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.'" and I've used this quote numerous times to try and illustrate how statistics can sometimes deceive you.
However, in this case, I believe the statistics are telling a very poignant and crystal clear tale that is not only factual, but important, and that tale is that Rose's MVP candidacy is seriously flawed.
I think there's no doubt that if Derrick Rose wins the 2011 NBA MVP, and is handed that Maurice Podoloff Trophy by David Stern, he will be the worst winner in its history.
A truly deserving candidate? LeBron James, of course. He is the MVP.
All stats and information taken from personal notes and verified at Yahoo! Sports and Basketball-Reference.com.
Read more by Daniel Barber aka Hotnuke at TFS Sports.
Twain quote taken from TwainQuotes.com.
Koster, Kyle. (2011). What if Derrick Rose Doesn't Win MVP? Chicago Sun-Times.
Unknown. (2011). Rose, Thibodeau Have Bulls Thinking Big. TrueHoop Blog at ESPN.
Unknown. (2011). Is Derrick Rose a Lock for NBA MVP? Yahoo! Sports.
Gould, Herb. (2011). Michael Jordan: Derrick Rose is MVP. Chicago Sun-Times.
Thesportsbank. (2011). "Derrick Rose is the MVP," Says Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. ChicagoNow.com.
Ding, Kevin. (2011). Jackson Pegs Derrick Rose as Likely NBA MVP. OCRegister.com.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.