Derrick Rose doesn't just say things to get media attention. Instead, he appears to abhor excessive attention. So when he says something that makes you raise your eyebrows, you best believe Rose believes it himself. In a rapid-fire Q&A with CNN's Eric Pinto, Rose was asked who he believed the NBA's best player was. Without blinking, Rose uttered
LeBron James, Kevin Durant Derrick Rose.
It's been a while since we last saw Rose play basketball healthy, but he'll have to back up that strong conviction by proving it on the court this season. His No. 1 priority in that regard should immediately become refining his shooting. Rose's game is predicated on his elite athleticism, and while everyone's excited that he's back to flushing acrobatic dunks, that's not what's going to win the Bulls a seventh title in franchise history. While rehabbing the ligaments in his knee, Rose was supposedly working on his jumper. Right now, I'd take LeBron James as the league's best player, but that might be different if he hadn't spent the first decade of his career rebuilding his unreliable jump shot.
At the peak of his success, Lil Wayne was trying to convince everyone he was the best rapper alive, Jay Z included. Since then, Weezy's fallen short of his own expectations. Rose is a mini-LeBron, but he's not on that Jay/LeBron penthouse level yet. First he needs to focus on getting his first championship before he can reach VIP status. The question is after a year off, does the 2012 MVP even qualify for the top-five grouping with Kevin Durant, James, Carmelo, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant?