NBA: Rose named Rookie of Year
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 23, 2009
NORTHBROOK, Ill. ó Like most good point guards, Derrick Rose rarely gives anything away. This time, he couldn’t resist.
After learning Wednesday he is the NBA’s rookie of the year, Rose let a little secret slip: He wanted the award. Badly.
“When I first came into the season, my biggest thing was to get this award,” Rose said. “I was telling you all that I didn’t care, but I did. You really do want this award. There was a lot of talent out there that I had to go against.”
Rose, who led his hometown Bulls to the playoffs and restored hope to a franchise in disarray, was the runaway pick.
“For Derrick to take the ball from Day 1, to lead our basketball team, to play at the level he played at is really, really significant and certainly means that as we go forward here, we’ve got the guy that we are going to build around,” general manager John Paxson said.
Rose became the third Bulls player to win the award Wednesday, joining Michael Jordan and Elton Brand. He received 111 first-place votes and 574 points from a national panel of sports writers and broadcasters; runner-up O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies received five first-place votes and 127 points.
Rose’s selection was hardly a surprise, after the No. 1 overall draft pick led all rookies with 6.3 assists per game and was second in scoring average at 16.8, and established himself as the franchise’s first true cornerstone since Jordan.
“I think there are very few people in the NBA who could do what he did this year,” teammate Joakim Noah said. “You tell me another No. 1 pick who got to the playoffs in their hometown, especially in a big city with so many distractions and so many things going on. I mean, he’s all about one thing and that’s winning basketball games, and that’s what I respect about him.”
The only other players who received first-place votes were Brook Lopez of the New Jersey Nets and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Eric Gordon of the Los Angeles Clippers rounded out the top five.