Derrick Rose will be the Most Valuable Player of the 2010-2011 NBA season.
That statement is as much of a personal declaration as it is a prediction.
Before I explain why Derrick Rose will be the MVP, I will slowly eliminate the competition through a foolproof formula to which I haven't quite figured out the equation.
LeBron James won't be in contention due to the expectations heaped upon by him by the often self-contrived media hoopla and animosity regarding his South Beach talent-taking. James would have to literally average a triple-double, or have the Heat win 70-plus games with James being the unquestioned No. 1 player on the team, for him to win MVP.
In other words, James falls under the "unrealistic MVP" category.
Fun trivia fact: the last person to win three MVPs in a row was not Michael Jordan, but Larry Bird from '84-'86.
Kobe Bryant is coming off back-to-back championship seasons that saw the Lakers win 65 and 57 games while finishing first in the Western Conference both seasons. Kobe has clearly asserted himself as the best player in the NBA and has received more comparisons to Jordan than LeBron as of late.
In other words, Kobe falls under the "set too high a precedent for an MVP" category.
That leaves Kevin Durant, who will undoubtedly be Derrick Rose's biggest competition for the Most Valuable Player trophy. Durant is entering his fourth year and has continued to improve his stature in the league by quietly executing with an amazing propensity to take—and make—shots from all areas of the floor.
Durant took a team from Oklahoma City to the playoffs and gave the Lakers quite a push in their first-round playoff series.
However, Durant is coming off a 30-point, eight-rebound season.
The Thunder have ascended from dark horse candidates to making the playoffs to becoming legitimate contenders in the Western Conference. That ascent is more of a leap than a step, and the hype behind the Thunder could very well lead to a disappointing regular season.
With the possibility that the Hornets, Rockets, Spurs, and Blazers will all be healthier this season, I have a feeling the Thunder will be around the same position next year in the Western Conference standings—not quite the leap people expect from the team.
In other words, Durant will fall in to the "his team didn't ascend to the next level, so he can't win the MVP" category.
That leaves my pick for MVP: Derrick Rose.
The Bulls are going to be an immensely improved team.
With the addition of Kyle Korver, the Bulls have the three-point shooting they were severely missing last season; the Bulls didn't have a single player on their roster last year who shot better than 39 percent from the three-point line—Kyle Korver is a career 41 percent three-point shooter.
The Bulls' biggest offseason acquisition, however, was Carlos Boozer, who will add a low-post presence for the team. He'll free up room for Joakim Noah to run around and do his hustle work that irks non-fans of the team, but causes the Bulls' faithful to be enamored with him.
Then you throw in the addition of athletes like Ronnie Brewer and solid veteran backups like Kurt Thomas, and the Bulls will clearly see a marked improvement over last year.
Derrick Rose will henceforth be on an improved team and receive the credit as the best player on said team.
The Bulls will also quickly become media and fan favorites. They will be the gritty, working man's combatant to the super-human Miami Heat team.
While Chris Bosh is creating YouTube videos for the All-Star game, Joakim Noah will be knocking people down with elbows and grabbing offensive rebounds.
While Dwayne Wade is doing T-Mobile commercials with Charles Barkley, Derrick Rose will be in the gym extending the range on his jump shot.
Okay, so the comparisons are a little extreme to carry out the working man's metaphor, but the point has been established. Fans will gravitate to a team that will be the antithesis of the Miami Heat and the Bulls can certainly be that team.
Derrick Rose is also an inch away from being considered a superstar in the NBA.
He is already a fan-favorite, with his jersey being the fourth-most popular in the NBA. He just needs to take his game to his jersey sales' level.
Coming in to his third NBA season, Rose improved his scoring, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage. Now a 21-point/six-assist player, if Derrick Rose improves his game by as considerable a margin in his third season as he was able to in his second season, Rose has the ability to be considered an elite player by year's end.
The Bulls will be improved, media favorites, and Derrick Rose will receive the credit as the improved albeit young (positive thing in the media) leader of the lovable Bulls.
My declaration: Derrick Rose will be your 2010-2011 NBA Most Valuable Player.