Derrick Rose stole Kevin Durant’s Thunder
After the 2009-10 NBA season, all signs showed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant as the next superstar to help carry the league. Well, it’s a year later and most people have forgotten the high praise they once gave Durant because it now belongs to the Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose.
Throughout the off-season, Durant was declared as the next MVP by many columnists, bloggers and TV personalities. When the 2010 summer games started, USA Basketball seemed to be Durant’s team because he was the best player. Also, when it came time to decide if the Los Angeles Lakers could three-peat, the Thunder were nominated to be LA’s toughest challenge, which was mostly because of Durant.
Let’s look how this panned out.
Rose has this season’s MVP locked up while Durant barely makes the top 10. Rose has been the main reason why the Bulls propelled last season’s 41 win record to this season’s NBA best 62-20. He is the only player in the league in the top 10 in both points and rebounds per game and even though he isn’t elite yet, he has greatly improved two of the knocks on Rose’s game, his man-on-man defense and his jump shooting.
He makes every player on the roster better when he is on the court, puts up huge numbers and has dominated every other point guard in the league this season…MVP credentials. Durant has had another great season and led the league in scoring for the second straight season, but his game play just isn’t good enough for the MVP award when compared to Rose. Actually, he doesn’t compare to the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard, Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki, New York Knicks Amare Stoudemire or the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
Sure, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and the signings of Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver deserve some credit for the Bulls 21 game improvement and rise to an elite team status, but it should mostly go to Rose. The rookie head coach has taken a team of brand new players who have never played together and it into arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference. The record says league, but I still find it hard to put Chicago over LA in a seven game series. Boozer and Joakim Noah missed large chunks of the season with injuries and have endured multiple bad games when healthy.
Korver only averaged 20 minutes a game and had more off shooting nights than good shooting nights during the regular season, but he has been clutch in the playoffs. Brewer is a solid defender but can’t score.
Who has been on the court and putting up great numbers for the team with the best record during every game…D-Rose. Durant hasn’t even been the best player on his team every game because Russell Westbrook is emerging as a top five point guard in the league. Durant has another all-star on the team, who puts up great numbers while Rose has Luol Deng, who played well all season, Boozer, who might be called a free agent bust, Noah, but only for half a season and a bunch of minimal role players who only play well when Rose spoon feeds them.
Not only are the Bulls an elite team but they’re a legitimate championship contender. Chicago could beat the Boston Celtics or the Heat in a seven game series while the Thunder would have problems with not only the Lakers but also the Memphis Grizzlies. I know it sounds weird to say it, but the Grizzlies are playing great basketball and could put OKC in precarious late game situations.
In my eyes, the Bulls have vaulted past the Thunder in terms of championship contenders.
My last point, which I listed in chronological order to begin with but decided it was the least important of the three, is Rose out-shined Durant during a few of the summer games. Rose took a spot on the roster as a backup to Boston’s Rajon Rondo but won the starting point guard job and then slowly took over the team. Rose created open looks for Durant and poured in points of his own when they needed them.
USA Basketball began as a team based around Durant but was formed around KD and Rose by time it won the gold medal.
This post isn’t made to bash Durant, I’m stating it is ironic how all the buzz was around Durant before the season began, but now it’s just murmurs while Rose gets an uproar for everything he does.
Both are talented players and are the new superstar faces of the league. However, this might be the time to jump off of the Durant band wagon and realize Rose’s wheels are turning a little faster.