As the regular season winds down to a close, the MVP debate rages on. Earlier this week, Scott Carefoot gave his take on the voting protocol for the award and the internet is ablaze with arguments for or against the players in contention. With the Toronto Raptors heading to Chicago to play the Bulls on Saturday night, who better to talk to than Team USA assistant coach Jay Triano?
The Raptors head man was asked about the leap that Rose has made this year. After working with Rose this past offseason, Triano singled out the 22-year-old point guard’s offcourt demeanor as his most impressive quality.
“You could tell he was going to be pretty good. The thing that I liked the most had nothing to do with his on the court stuff, it was off the court. Just his willingness to listen in video sessions and watch himself. How pissed off he would get at himself for making a mistake and seeing it. He wanted to see it. He would curse at himself and say, “This ain’t happening again.” He just had that drive where he wanted to learn, was hard on himself to the point where he wasn’t going to make the mistake again. When you’re like that, your level of play accelerates.”
Flip to a Bulls game and there is no doubt that you’ll see that accountability that Triano mentioned above. Rose’s heart isn’t on his sleeve, but tacked to his forehead, front and center, allowing the world to see anguish, frustration and anger with himself whenever he falters.
As for whether he has carried himself differently this season, former teammate James Johnson says, “He’s always quiet, he’s always going to be quiet. The most humbling All-Star I know.” Having played with Rose for half of this season and seen his talents up close, Johnson was adamant about his MVP-worthiness: “He already definitely got my pick. I made my pick at the beginning of the year.”