MVP comparison: 2011 Rose versus Westbrook

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

Derrick Rose was born and raised in Chicago, attended the University of Memphis and would eventually return to the Windy City after being selected as the first pick of the 2008 NBA draft.

In 2009, at just 20 years old, he won the All-Rookie award and was named Rookie of the Year. In 2011, he was a two-time All-Star, winner of the All-NBA award and was even named MVP of the league.

The Bulls won their first two series in the postseason (4-1 against the Pacers and 4-2 against the Hawks) but fell to LeBron James and the Heat just before the Finals.

Rose had one more all-star season in 2012 and when the playoffs rolled around, Chicago was leading the East with a record of 50-16.

Game one featured the Philadelphia 76ers, with nearly 22 thousand fans packed into the United Center to see if the Bulls could go all the way this time.

With 1:20 left to play in the fourth quarter, Rose had 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Chicago was leading 99-87.

It would unfortunately be announced that Rose suffered from a torn ACL in his knee and would not return the following season. After this moment in sports history, his career would never be the same, as he still struggles to find that explosiveness he had back when he won MVP. 

Another unreal point guard from the 2008 draft was Russell Westbrook. Born in Long Beach, California, Westbrook attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and, by the time Westbrook was 19, he had scored 619 points, had 191 assists and 181 rebounds for the Bruins. 

The Seattle Supersonics (who would soon become the Oklahoma City Thunder) selected Westbrook as their fourth pick in the first round. He was not one of the starting five during his 2009 debut, but he did average 15.3 points per game (PPG), 5.3 assists (AST) and 4.9 rebounds (RBS) and received the All-Rookie award.

By 2010, Westbrook played every game as a starter and continued showing signs of improvement. But by the time he was 22, Westbrook was averaging 21.9 PPG and received the first of many All-Star and All-NBA awards.

Seven years ago, this was quite an accomplishment. Westbrook was then given the same awards for two more seasons and would have won seven years in a row but missed the opportunity in 2014 when he averaged another 21.8 PPG, similar to that of his first recognizable season.

It is safe to say Westbrook set the bar pretty high for himself. In 2015, he turned around and averaged 28.1 PPG with 8.6 AST and 7.3 RBS.

The following year, his scoring declined, but he was moving the ball a lot more. It was his first season averaging a double-double with 23.5 PPG and 10.4 AST.

It’s actually very fitting that Westbrook turned into a complete monster as soon as Kevin Durant joined the Warriors.

In 2017, Westbrook took full control of his situation and became the second player in the NBA to average a triple-double. When asked who was the better point guard, junior Dalton Mann gave his vote to Westbrook.

“Russell Westbrook, no doubt,” Mann said. “He averaged a triple-double! Only one other guys has ever done that.”

The only other person to do that was Oscar Robertson. Westbrook tied Robertson’s record of 41 triple-doubles and led the league in scoring with 31.6 PPG, 10.4 AST and 10.7 RBS. These numbers also earned himself the MVP award.

He is now joined by Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, which makes the Thunder one of the most solid teams in the West.

Despite the numbers and all the “what ifs,” I think Rose would have been the better player today, if not one of the greatest of all times.

Rose was so hyped and the highlight reel from his MVP season was just ridiculous.

But Westbrook is the better player and for good measure. He was patient and kept getting better while Rose rode the hype train for the few years he could.

The two players came into the league the same year, but the differences in their careers is unbelievable.