It's too early to say
It's a weird year at the MVP ballot box.
There are Super Teams, whose stars tend to split votes. (See the Spurs, Celtics and Heat).
There are old favorites (Kobe and Dirk). There's the current league darling (Derrick Rose), who followed the last league darling (Kevin Durant). And there's always the one guy whose supporting cast hasn't lent enough balloons and bunting to his candidacy (Dwight Howard).
So I say it's still a tad early to decide. What's the rush?
I want to see the stars in the stretch run, but my leading candidates: Rose, LeBron James, Howard and Kobe Bryant.
Rose has revived the Bulls. LeBron changed the entire East. Nobody has done more with less than Howard. Voters should feel guilty Kobe has won the MVP only once.
Magic act by Howard
Have you seen what Dwight Howard has been surrounded by this season? Two distinct packages of second-tier riffraff. Say what you want about Derrick Rose's leadership and productivity this season, it's not as if Howard has anything close to Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah alongside him.
Instead, Howard has kept the Magic afloat while playing with some of the most erratic talent in the NBA — first Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis, and now Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. And it's not as if Stan Van Gundy has been the most stabilizing of forces.
Take away any of the Heat's Big Three and that still is a playoff team. Without Rose, the Bulls still could avoid the lottery.
But the Magic without Dwight? Just the image should settle any debate.
Rose is doing more
I don't need Rose-colored glasses — or any glasses, for that matter — to get past any alleged hometown bias and anoint Derrick Rose as this season's most valuable player.
Simply put, no player has achieved more with less. The Bulls have endured two major injuries this season, losing Carlos Boozer for 15 games and Joakim Noah for 30. And yet they are in contention for the conference's top seed, far surpassing all preseason prognostications. This is because of Rose, who has grown in myriad ways, from his 3-point shooting to his defensive play to his command of games and ability to close them.
Other players are having great seasons, and Dwight Howard comes close to matching Rose for what he means on a playoff-bound team. But the Bulls' record is better, which is why Rose should become the youngest MVP in league history.
It's Rose's time … now
Los Angeles Times
It's all about the timing here.
I couldn't imagine not giving LeBron James the MVP nod when the Heat were in the midst of a 21-1 run in December and January.
But the question is posed now, meaning today's vote goes to the Bulls' Derrick Rose.
Significantly, Rose produces against the best, not the minnows, averaging 29.5 points in two games against the Lakers and 29 points in three games against the Heat, both a good measure above his season average of 24.5 points.
Still, the NBA is fickle and its landscape can change, often wildly, in a week (and another Boozer injury), let alone a month.