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Derrick Rose: Is It Too Late to Take Back His MVP Award?

MIAMI, FL - MAY 24: (L-R) Kyle Korver #26, Carlos Boozer #5, Derrick Rose #1 and Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls look on against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. LeBron James 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 Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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Robert FeltonAnalyst IIMay 25, 2011

Granted, a player winning an MVP award does not necessarily imply that he is the best player in the NBA. It is an accolade given strictly based on regular season performance.

But when you consider the expectations attached to the award, especially as the leader on the league's top-seeded team, Derrick Rose's MVP award win simply appears more undeserved with each passing day.

Here are just a few examples of what "MVP" Rose has done so far in the Eastern Conference Finals: 

  • He's averaging 23 PPG so far in the series. To put that in perspective, Chris Bosh is averaging 24 PPG in the series, and LeBron James is averaging 25.2 PPG in the series. The MVP cannot average fewer points than Miami's third-best player.
  • Rose is shooting an abysmal 36 percent in this series. He has become a volume shooter rather than an efficient performer, which one would associate with the MVP.
  • Rose is a point guard, and he's averaging only 6.25 APG in the series, while also committing 3.75 turnovers per game. That is an assist-to-turnover ratio of less than 2:1. He had seven giveaways in a tight, hotly contested Game 4 loss.

To be fair, Derrick Rose has had some great performances in this year's playoffs. His 44-point effort against the Hawks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series was terrific. He took over games down the stretch against the Indiana Pacers and led his team to victory when it was struggling.

But MVPs generally get judged based on how they play when the stakes are the highest, not when they are winning games against lower seeds, and Rose simply has not delivered so far in the Eastern Conference finals against his MVP predecessor LeBron James.

Game 4 was the latest illustration of how the MVP committee should have thought a bit harder about the MVP award rather than falling into the trap of "he's the next Jordan" hype surrounding Rose that has proven many a NBA analyst foolish in the past. Vince Carter, anyone?

There's no doubt that Rose has talent and potential. He will improve and come back stronger next year because of his excellent work ethic and drive to succeed. But Rose may well be the worst MVP winner in recent memory.

A lot of people compare him to Allen Iverson, but when A.I. won the award in 2001 he answered any doubts about his worthiness with truly breathtaking performances in the biggest of games. He had two 50-point games against the Raptors and 45 points in Game 2 against the Pacers when the 76ers had lost Game 1 of the first-round series.

Plus, who can forget how he put up 48 points on the Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals? Yes, he lost the series against a dominant Lakers team, but no one looked at what he did in the playoffs that year and ever questioned whether he played like an MVP.

In this year's playoffs there have been two players that have looked like MVPs throughout the postseason: Dirk Nowitzki (who I vehemently argued deserved more MVP recognition than he received from the voters) and LeBron James, who is taking the challenge of guarding the best player on the opposing team in the clutch.

That was a brave move on James' part since we all know what the media would say if Rose had hit that perimeter jumper over James to win the game.

That's what MVPs do: They provide whatever their team needs from them when the game matters the most. So far, Rose, despite his "highlight dunks" (the two-handed stuff on Joel Anthony was impressive) has simply not lived up to the MVP standard of players like James, Dirk, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

He has between one and three more games in this series to prove that the MVP voters made the right choice by anointing him the league's Most Valuable Player.

It's time he began to earn that award.

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