3. Rose in Bloom
In his first two years in the NBA, Derrick Rose showed flashes of brilliance. The Bulls’ guard frequently exhibited his vast physical abilities but was also maddeningly inconsistent. While a few experts may have predicted that he would take his game to a higher level, few could have truly foreseen that he would explode on to the scene in such powerful fashion.
Widely recognized as the frontrunner for league MVP, Rose has improved his play across the board, averaging 25 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game. Moreover, his shooting touch has also improved immensely. An extremely questionable shooter in college, Rose has elevated his free throw percentage nearly 10 points (to 85.9 percent) and has hit 33.2 percent of his 3-point attempts, all while making nearly as many 3s as he shot in the last two seasons combined.
Hiis tremendous statistics do not tell the full story of his impact on his team and, by extension, the league. For much of the year, Rose kept his team afloat without the help of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. This potent frontcourt duo combined to miss almost 60 games this season, yet somehow Rose was able to carry his team to the best regular-season record in the NBA.