Before we start, let me take you all the way back to the 2010-11 NBA season.
- LeBron’s first year in Miami
- The year Dirk finally got his ring
- MVP finalist Dwight Howard and the No. 1 seed Spurs lost in the first round
- KD averaged 27.7 points per game
- Kevin Love snagged 15.6 rebounds per game, a league-high.
Back to D-Rose.
There’s a problem with the MVP award in the NBA. And that problem is that the best player isn’t picked every year. More often than not, the MVP award is all about narrative and story, just like the MVP race this year.
Giannis is the better player this year, but because of LeBron’s ability to control the narrative, too many people think LeBron should win it.
In the 2010-11 NBA season, Derrick Rose put up great numbers: 25 ppg, 4.1 rpg, and 7.7 apg.
He didn’t lead the league in any of those categories, which is perfectly fine. But usually, you see the MVP lead the league in a few other areas, like win shares, field goals made and player efficiency.
But nope, the only category Rose led the NBA in was offensive box plus/minus. And he shared that title with LeBron James.
LeBron, who led the Heat to the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference, and led the league in plenty of categories. Not including those three I listed above, he led the NBA in box score plus/minus, offensive box score plus/minus, win shares/48 minutes, and value over replacement player.
He was selected for All-NBA and All-Defensive first teams and was one of the best defensive players in the NBA, which is proven by a bunch of advanced defensive stats and metrics.
And that’s what sets Rose and James apart in my mind.
Rose was outstanding throughout the season offensively, as was LeBron. But in LeBron’s best defensive year the NBA world let the narrative of a young, hot point guard on an overachieving team get in the way of one of the best advanced statistical seasons of all time.
Sure, everyone was mad at LeBron for going to the Heat, even though it was the best thing for his career at the time. Sure, everyone expected the Heat to do so well in 2010-11, even though it was a brand new team that hardly had any chemistry (there were about 7 returning players).
Sure, Derrick Rose was a great, young point guard, but LeBron was ahead of him in almost every basic and advanced statistic.
But this was before LeBron learned how to control the narrative, and it was too strong in the favor of Rose. And the same thing is close to happening this year as well.
We’re letting LeBron’s storyline get in the way of Giannis’ historic season, which should not be happening. But that’s for another piece.
While Derrick Rose had a great season and was a great story to follow, LeBron’s statistical dominance should’ve overpowered the narrative, and should have become one of the few players in NBA history to win back-to-back-to MVPs.