Derrick Rose, former No. 1 pick and superlative point guard for the thriving Chicago Bulls, is becoming an incredibly popular midseason MVP pick. Much of this is based on the story of Rose's rise coinciding with that of his team; no serious investigation of the numbers suggests Rose belongs among the top five MVP contenders this season. He's been phenomenal, no doubt. But plenty of great players having phenomenal seasons don't win the MVP. Like Kevin Durant last season.
Ah, Kevin Durant. Whatever happened to that kid? Oh, Rose has taken his place as the model superstar worshipped by members of the media, particularly soft hearts like Rick Reilly? Oh.
From Reilly's profile of Rose:
Rose could put up numbers that would fry your calculator. He is easily talented enough to lead the league in scoring. His drive to the iron is unstoppable. His 3-pointers made are up 800 percent this season. The kid has made 69 treys already. Michael Jordan didn't make that many until his sixth season. But Rose would sooner tongue-bathe goats than go for the scoring crown. "I can't do that! I'm the point guard!"
This is how out of touch Rose is with superstardom: One of his goals this year is to stop swearing. "My mom yells at me," he says. "She says, 'People can read lips!'"
I commend Rose for trying to calm down on the F-bombs. It's difficult, and unrewarding. (So unrewarding.) But that has nothing to do with MVP credentials. Reilly relates Rose's anecdotal outreach to young fans around the arena. Awesome! Irrelevant!
That's the most unfortunate thing about MVP arguments like this: They force reasonable people to nitpick the candidacies of wonderful players like Rose. They force reasonable people to root against the good guys, in some cases. You think I like spouting that LeBron "The Giant Birthday Cake" James has been more worthy of adulation than a good guy like Rose? It's not fun! And you're making it less fun, Rick Reilly!
The media so idolized Durant last year that it got to be a bit exhausting for fans like me, who love KD, his game and his personality. What happened to Durant? Did guys like Reilly just burn out on him? Or we going to run through one commendable young NBA player per season? (If so, when can we circle back and give Chris Paul his due?)