Derrick Rose vs. LeBron James: Which MVP Candidate Is a Better Playoff Crutch?

Al RiegerCorrespondent IMarch 13, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat celebrates after the Heat won 83-80 against Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Derrick Rose stops the bleeding when the Chicago Bulls fall into ruts.  He’s 23 years old and closes out games better than LeBron James, who is 27. 

Sure, LeBron James has a high shooting percentage at clutch moments. But when the Miami Heat need a basket in crucial times, James rarely comes through.

James is more hesitant and takes fewer shots when the game is on the line. Rose proved it against the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks that he’s not afraid to make big plays when it matters most. 

When the playoffs arrive, Rose will carry most of the burden, especially if Rip Hamilton is out. James doesn't always assume that duty. In essence he is the ultimate role player to Dwyane Wade, who looks healed from his ankle injury.    

Another Bulls-Heat playoff series is inevitable. Already experts are giving their opinion on which of these two teams is the playoff favorite. Many have the Heat coming out of the Eastern Conference.  James and Wade may just be too overwhelming a force.

Still, Rose carries his team better than James.

Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times predicts the Wade and James combo is too much for Rose to handle, but agrees Rose is the better in the clutch.

"At this point, the Bulls have only one player you’d want with the ball late in a game: Rose," Morrissey said. 

The Bulls have a lock-down defense thanks to high-energy role players and defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau. The Heat have one of the most explosive offenses in NBA history with James and Wade leading fast breaks. 


The Bulls are fully capable of beating the Heat and Rose has proven he can fully embrace being the leader of this team and coming up big when they need him most. 

The fact remains that LeBron left his “King James” title back in Cleveland.  He is not the clear-cut leader of the Heat.  He shares that role with Wade.  That’s why he shouldn’t win MVP.

It was just easier to join forces with his buddy than stick it out and be the face of a franchise. James is the star on a movie with two main characters. Rose wants to be “the guy”.  He publicly states that he will not recruit other superstars to help him win a championship. 

Sure, James has more playoff experience but has yet to prove he can lead a team to a championship. In his fourth year, Rose has led his team into elite status with little help and judging from his progression, there’s no reason to believe he won’t carry his team through the playoffs.

What’s the difference between Rose and LeBron? Rose enjoys the challenge.  When the game is on the line, I pick Rose over LeBron any day.