Did Derrick Rose really have an “MVP Season”?

Published: May 9, 2011

By now, most know that Derrick Rose became the youngest player in NBA history to win the MVP. But lately I’ve pondered whether his season was really MVP worthy compared to some past seasons that didn’t reap MVP trophies.

So, like any Hornets fan, I will use Chris Paul’s 08-09 season as the measuring stick for this post.

(Note: This journal is a little stat-heavy, so be prepared. And I realize that one must also consider the talent around a player when speaking of an MVP, not just their individual stats.)

Also, all stats for the Hornets are from the 2008-2009 season.

First, I’ll begin with scoring:
Rose: PTS 25.0
Paul: PTS 22.8
Naturally one would like to label Rose as the better scorer, but a look into the shot attempts shows that Derrick Rose attempts 3.6 more shots than Chris Paul did in 08-09. Of Paul’s 16.1 shots, 2.3 attempts were 3 pointers. So if he attempted 19.7 shots per game, he would attempt 2.8(.5 more) 3’s per game. This results in 1 made 3 pointer per game. The remaining 2 pointers(8.5) add up to 17 points. Add the 3 pointer and you’ve got 20 points without any free throws accounted for.
CP3 attempted .416 free throws per shot attempted, so if he attempted 19.7 shots he would take 8.19 free throws per game. Assuming he hit at his usual average of .868, he would make 7.11 free throws per game. Added with his 20 points from field goals alone, you have 27 points per game.

Advantage: Paul


Rose: REB 4.1
Paul: REB 5.6
Paul has a clear cut advantage here. Playing 1.1 more minutes per game than Rose doesn’t impact the stat enough to consider.

Advantage: Paul

This next one is little more complicated, because assists may sometimes be inflated, depending on the talent around the player.
Rose: AST 7.7
Paul: AST 11.0
To start out, I figured Derrick Rose would have averaged 7.9 assists had he played as many minutes as Chris Paul.

Hornets FG% (minus Chris Paul’s % because he can’t make an assist to himself): .441
Bulls FG%(minus Rose’s %): .461

Hornets 3FG%: .358
Bulls 3FG%: .367
(Thanks to hoopstats.com for these percentages)
The Bulls actually hit a higher percent of their 2 pointers and 3 pointers than the Hornets did.

The Hornets assisted on 58% of their jump shots while the Bulls assisted on 60% of their jump shots.
(Thanks to 82Games for this tid bit)

So this tells us that the two teams generally spot-up jump shot about the same amount, with the Bulls spotting up slightly more. Also, the Bulls hit higher percentages of these shots.

Advantage: Paul

Rose: TO 3.4
Paul: TO 3.0

Rose would have averaged 3.5 turnovers had he played 38.5 minutes, like Chris Paul. Paul has and obvious advantage.

Advantage: Paul

Steals, Blocks:
BLK 0.6
STL 1.0
BLK 0.1
STL 2.8

Derrick Rose has the advantage as far as blocks go, but you are free to take .5 more blocks per game by a point guard as you please. But Rose doesn’t even compare to Paul in terms of steals.

Advantage: Paul

So, statistically, Chris Paul’s 08-09 season was better that Derrick Rose’s 10-11 season. However, Rose won 12 more games. This could be largely due to the better team around him, as demonstrated by the field goal percentages. This tells me that CP3 should have been the MVP in 2008, when he produced a very similar season. Also, this tells me that if Paul has more seasons like the one above, he should be at the top of the MVP race.


  1. Mark Navarro

    May 9, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Okay, based on the argument you gave which you backed up with an impressive feat of reading between all the numbers, I’d have to agree with you that maybe CP3 did get robbed that year. But so many people base MVPs on their numbers but you have to consider all the intangibles a deserving MVP should give his team as well as the results of everything quantifiable and not.

    Have you ever seen the Bulls play when D-Rose is off the court? Honestly they are a misguided bunch. Full of talent, but terribly misguided. They execute well, but it’s still a few points above lackluster (by NBA standards). Same thing could have been said about the 08-09 Hornets actually. They were just flat out horrible when CP3 was off the court. But D-Rose led them to more wins than the 08-09 Hornets and more wins than any other team this season. That’s what an MVP does. If CP3 was every bit the deserving MVP your numbers have him to be, then how come he’s never had the Hornets as the team to beat? Furthermore, if the MVP race was all about numbers, then LBJ should be the MVP this year. His numbers and efficiency are in a nutshell, better than Rose’s. Which brings me to what I said before: results. Lebron has failed time and time again in closing out games and his team finished second to the Bulls this season.

    What I’m trying to say is that a good player can be judged on paper by his numbers. But a great player is someone who can score just 10 points but still make sure that the team wins. Numbers don’t tell the whole story. At the end of the day, results are what matters.

    • jmbell

      May 9, 2011 at 7:24 am

      Exactly, I completely agree about results. As I mentioned in the note, numbers aren’t everything. I don’t think LeBron will win many more MVPs due to the fact that he has D-wade. And while they both had to deal with injuries, (noah, chandler, peja) I think derrick rose was in a better situation with gibson and boozer than CP3 was. In 08 when chris paul had the hornets as the team to beat for much of the season, of course kobe won. But I think if you took kobe, CP3 and derrick rose off their teams, that the hornets would be in the worse situation.

      • nikkoewan

        May 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

        OK here goes, besides the usual statistical argument against DRose, i’ll add some more why he SHOULDN’T have been an MVP.

        Agreed with your last statement – a great player is someone who can score just 10 points but still make sure that the team wins. We see that in CP3. But DRose is not on that level. Ok let’s agree on something – DRose gets aggressive in late games yes. that much is true. His foul rate and attempts in crunch time are all good. but a question I have is that, if your crediting Rose for closing out the games, then you should also discredit him for making the games close, shouldn’t you? I mean, Rose scores yes. But he scores so inefficiently. Even with the huge amount of FTs he gets, he is still largely inefficient, which is a shock in and of itself.

        and this results thing? the “MVP should lead his team to the most wins” thing fail to credit others, and put ALL the credit into one single basket. Look the results are important, but the award states “MOST VALUABLE PLAYER” which is not”BEST PLAYER ON THE TEAM WITH THE BEST RECORD”. We all agree that the definition of Most Valuable Player is kind of vague – some use statistics, some use intangibles, some use records, some use the remove him from his team way.

        DRose never had an edge statistically. His intangibles are all limited to the offensive side(his clutch time magic), his record is more of a testament of his team’s depth rather than his ability to carry a team,exemplified by his WS total of only 13.1 which is 2 short of Lebron’s 15.6(despite playing approx. equal minutes) and 1 short of Paul(despite playing less minutes). You fail to recognize that your team is better than Howard’s and James(although this is debatable). Remove DRose from the Bulls and you still got a 0.500 team. Remove Lebron from the Heat and you got a 0.500 team. Remove DHoward from the Magic and you get a lottery team.

        My view of the NBA Awards is slowly degressing to meaningless. Unless a criteria is created to match this awards, voters will forever be caught in the hype and not look things as a whole. it happened with Nash(Kobe was robbed of an MVP), it happened to Kobe(Paul was robbed of an MVP), it happened again with DRose(Howard was robbed of an MVP) and it will again happen in the future.

  2. uareahater

    May 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm


  3. jmbell

    May 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I agree, voters deffinetly get caught up in the hype of the most exiciting player. And a lot of people claim that kobe deserved the mvp in 08 simply because he was robbed by nash. while I don’t think players should get robbed like that, I don’t think another player(cp3) should get robbed just because another player(kobe) got robbed at one point. I just wish the award would go to the most deserving player, which I too think was probably dwight howard this season.

    In 2010 even with an above average backup, the hornets were a lottery team when CP3 missed just 37 games. (Not that he was having a particularly strong mvp season anyway)

    And the award is moving toward meaningless to me too, when the most TALENTED players or most EXCITING players are winning the award.

  4. Jordan Laesch

    May 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Wait, a blogger for the Hornets thinks Chris Paul from the Hornets is better than a player not on the Hornets? TELL ME MORE, YOU ARE GOOD AT TEH WRITEZZZZZ!

    • 42

      May 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      Yes. Everyone just justifies the team they like. That’s why everyone in L.A. says Fisher is the best point guard in the NBA, and everyone in Miami thinks Joel Anthony is tops.

      So why is everyone after injured Chris? Dumbasses.

  5. jmbell

    May 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks 42.

    and I believe yall are the haters. And I don’t just THINK chris paul(in 09, as that was the season this whole thing was based off) is better, the evidence proves it. Quit trolling.

  6. jmbell

    May 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    And I believe I pretty blatantly stated at the beginning of the journal that I’m a hornets fan so I was comparing d-rose to CP3?

  7. GeauxHornets

    May 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

    jmbell – If you haven’t read my article on At The Hive discussing this very topic, you’ll probably enjoy reading it: http://www.atthehive.com/2011/3/30/2078430/rose-for-mvp-support-is-an-insult-to-chris-paul

    The one fundamental difference between our arguments, though, is that I used CP3’s 2007-08 season as my evaluation tool. Was his 08-09 season slightly better from a statistical standpoint? Sure, but you have to look at total team impact as well; the 07-08 Hornets finished just a game out of the top spot in the Western Conference, whereas they only finished with the 7th seed in the following year.

    • jmbell

      May 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      Great read. That’s actually the same problem I ran into when trying to decide from the two seasons. I think both seasons prove rose hasn’t quite reached CP3s level yet as far as being a point guard

  8. Carpo

    May 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I had a brief rant on this in the forum. It’s a load of bs , aside even mentionin CP in 07/08, there are 2 mire deserving players. Dwight n lebron. Put either those guys in Chicago instead of rose n they would be better, not just that their numbers r more impressive and their teams have good records

  9. Dontae

    June 19, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Yes CP3 is already supposed to have a MVP award with him. But Rose was the best player on the best team (record wise). I think he did deserve it. He carried the Bulls with little help. I thought Boozer would do more but really wasn’t a help. In the playoffs it did look like he had to go 1-5 at times. And because the Bulls didn’t get to the Finals people wonder if he deserved MVP. I think he did but his team wasn’t great like a lot of people thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.