Monday, May 2, 2011
Updated: May 3, 2:24 PM ET
Source: Derrick Rose is NBA MVP
By Jon Greenberg
CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is the youngest Most Valuable Player award-winner in the history of the NBA, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The 22-year-old Rose was widely expected to win the award after leading the Bulls to a 62-20 record and No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The Bulls have scheduled a 4 p.m. CT Tuesday news conference for a "major announcement."
Rose said Monday night that the league has yet to tell him anything about the award.
"Not yet. Still hearing from it," he said. "But right now, I'm sorry to say that's the last thing I'm thinking about. I'm sorry."
Rose is expected to be notified of his victory Tuesday and be presented with the award during Wednesday's Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks, according to the source.
Michael Jordan was the last Bulls player to win the award. He won it five times, with the latest being 1998. Earlier in the season, Jordan said Rose deserved the award.
Rose ended the two-year MVP reign of LeBron James, who spurned the Bulls and bolted from Cleveland to form a superstar triumvirate with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The 22-year-old Rose also supplanted Wes Unseld as the youngest MVP. He was 23 and was the rookie of the year and MVP with the Baltimore Bullets for the 1968-69 season.
"I think it's great. I think he's very well-deserving," teammate Joakim Noah said. "I think it's a situation where everybody knows it's his. It's not like somebody else deserves it. It's for him and I'm happy for him, but there's really no time to celebrate it right now. We're in a dogfight against Atlanta."
The Bulls lost Game 1 of their second-round series to the Hawks on Monday night, 103-95.
The Chicago-born point guard had a breakout third season, averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds. After a summer with the U.S. National team, Rose made a significant leap.
Rose, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft and rookie of the year, started his first All-Star Game this year after making the team as a reserve last season.
He carried a team that saw its top two big men, Carlos Boozer and Noah, miss significant time with injuries. His fellow starting guard Keith Bogans averaged just 4.4 points per game. Still, the Bulls never lost more than two games in a row.
"Well deserved," Boozer said. "I've been shouting his praise all season for what he's been able to do for our team. I'm proud of him, he deserved it."
Rose's MVP candidacy was criticized by some, but not by his teammates. After Rose scored 30 in a 97-81 win over Boston in early April, Noah said, "If this game doesn't put the stamp on the MVP vote, I don't know what else you can say."
Rose ranked seventh in scoring and 10th in assists, making him the only player this season in the top 10 in both categories. The only other Bulls player to do that was Jordan in 1988-89, when he led the league in scoring (32.5 points) and finished 10th in assists.
Throw in a 4.1 rebounding average, and Rose joins another elite group. He's the seventh player in league history to average at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds, along with Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Wade and James, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
In the postseason, he's been just as impressive.
He scored 39 and 36 points in the first two playoff games against Indiana. Then he shook off two sub-par performances not to mention a sprained left ankle to score 25 points in Game 5 as the top-seeded Bulls closed out what had been a tight first-round series with a 116-89 victory.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau won the Coach of the Year award Sunday. The two will be the 12th duo in NBA history to win both awards.
"He's humble, he's coachable. It doesn't matter if the 12th man on the team says something to him, he's going to look you in the eye and listen to you and nod his head and try to do it better," teammate Kyle Korver said. "That's just the kind of guy he is. And that is so rare. That is so rare. So to be on his team, to watch him grow this year, he's really matured as a [player]. And he's still raw. He can still get a lot better. That's the scary thing. And he will because he works really hard. And he's got great people around him, coaching him, and helping him out."
Jon Greenberg is a columnist and reporter for ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.