All right, before I get started, I want to state without uncertainty that Derrick Rose should and will be the 2010-2011 NBA MVP.
I have tried to compile a list of five reasons he shouldn't win the award and I can't come up with even minuscule reasons to thwart his award winning efforts.
Rose has simply been the best player in the game this regular season.
That being said, does this spectacular season move him into place as the best player in the game today?
When the season started, Derrick Rose was probably considered a top 10 to top 15 player by the account of most people. An argument could be made that maybe he was the sixth best player around at best; but he was probably in the mix with Dirk Nowitzki among others.
There was no question that he was behind five players though when the season began. Those would be LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard.
All had made strides to be known as the man in their own right in the past (Wade, Bryant, James, Howard) with Durant making the biggest strides recently with the turnaround by OKC last season.
Durant had been put front and center with the cover of Sports Illustrated's NBA Preview Issue and was known as one of the men.
Who's the best player in the game?
Last season, a realistic argument for MVP could be made for Durant, which also made for discussion where he landed at on the list of greats today.
Winning an MVP puts one into discussion as top player deservedly so, but one has to ask: when Dirk Nowitzki won his MVP in 2007 and Steve Nash won back-to-back MVP's were they considered the best player in the game?
The simple answer was no. That title was distinctly Kobe Bryant's to lose.
As much as I don't like to compare Kobe Bryant to "His Airness" and Kobe can't hold M.J.'s jockstrap, he has learned how to play for the title and not awards. This is something both learned to do as they entered their 30s.
Kobe could still win the MVP now and plays as well as any player in the league, he just saves his game come playoff time over the regular season. That given, Kobe is still right there for best player as is indicative of his Finals MVP trophy last season.
Dwyane Wade is a former Finals MVP in his own right and led the Heat to a surprising season last year. With a weak cast around him, he was still able to secure the fifth spot in the East.
Wade is a dangerous man come playoff time. He is still one of the best finishers in the game, and though not considered the best player in the game, he is still talked about as one of the five best.
LeBron James has won the last two MVP awards and it's not far fetched to believe he can win one every year that he laces up the shoes.
The fact that the Cavaliers are currently 15-58 without him after going 61-21 the previous year shows his dominance in this game. He still remains among the best players in the game.
Dwight Howard is a pure beast inside, and his numbers this year show he has been friends with the paint, scoring 23.2 PPG, 14.3 RPG and 2.4 BPG. He is also second in the league in field goal percentage at 60% this year, just behind Nene.
Leading his team to the 2009 Finals, he's another perennial MVP candidate playing great again despite the lack of cohesive play around him.
Then we come to the main focus in Derrick Rose. He is playing the best ball of any player this year, including LeBron and Dwight having magnificent seasons. He's averaging 25.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 7.9 Assists per game.
What has made this such an MVP season for Rose has been how clutch he has been. Whether it's with the game on the line and making a big bucket or leading the team through injuries, Rose has done what has been needed.
He has exceeded my expectations and those of others. At 53-20, the Bulls are tied with the Lakers for the second-best record in the league and are first in the Eastern Conference.
That's accounting for the injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah and for not having a true shooting guard. I think Michael Jordan sucked up any talent the Bulls are ever allowed to have at that position.
The question that I posed was: Is Derrick Rose the best player in the game today?
The answer is no...or at least not yet.
As other one-time MVP's have shown and other players in general have shown, one great season doesn't make a career.
LeBron still had to establish himself for a couple seasons before he was allowed into the discussion for best player in the game with Kobe Bryant. Derrick Rose is making the right strides right now to get in that discussion.
I'd say Rose is currently right there with Dwight Howard for third best player in the game behind LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
On the bright side for Rose, he can still lower his turnovers per game and shoot a higher percentage towards becoming an even better player.
Rose might not be the best player in the game, but he is having the best season in 2010-2011.