HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Not that we needed any co-signers for the Derrick Rose-4-MVP campaign this season, but when Michael Jordan endorses a candidate … do you need anything else?
The Bobcats owner witnessed the movement first hand last night, with Rose and the Bulls pounding Jordan’s bunch in a 101-84 win in Charlotte.
Jordan declared Rose the “MVP of the season.” And then added, “He deserves it. He’s playing that well. And if he doesn’t get it, you’ll see how I felt a lot of years.”
This came hours after Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf made a declaration of his own, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “We have an outstanding coach, an outstanding bunch of players, the team is deep, and if we stay healthy, we have an awfully good chance of winning at least four championships.”
When you already have six fingers covered, courtesy of Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls of the 1990s, you know of what you speak. But Rose isn’t shrinking from the hype. The hometown kid is the unquestioned leader of the Windy City Revival. The fact that he’s embraced the role is what’s most impressive and also most remarkable for a player that before this season seemed interested in anything but trying to fill the gigantic void left by Jordan.
“I wish, man,” Rose told the Sun-Times when informed of Jordan’s endorsement. “‘It’s a great that he said that. It’s an honor. We’re just trying to keep winning. The award will come if we keep winning. We’re trying to play hard and play together. We just have to keep playing aggressive, and play with an edge.”
They’ll have to keep that edge if Carlos Boozer‘s latest injury is as serious as it looked last night.
Boozer limped off the floor after injuring his left ankle. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said the X-rays were negative and he didn’t want to speculate about what kind of time Boozer might miss. You can understand his reluctance after Boozer missed the first 15 games of the season with that broken right hand and then center Joakim Noah missed 30 games with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Boozer had a bad landing on a dunk attempt with the Bulls up 17 when Kwame Brown hacked him and received a flagrant foul.
“It’s too early,” Thibodeau told the Sun-Times. “We’ll just have to wait and see tomorrow what type of swelling he has. It’s his left ankle. He came down pretty hard. I’m hoping it’s just his ankle.”
If Rose keeps it up, it might not matter. One of the reasons he’s the frontrunner for MVP is because of the work he’s done without Boozer and/or Noah around to help him tote some of the load.
“I think the sky’s the limit for us right now,” Rose told ESPNChicago.com. “I think everybody in this locker room, they want to win a championship. They’re winners.
“Who’s to say that we can’t win it this year?”
We have no reason to doubt Rose on that one. Anything can happen in the playoffs. And the Bulls have already shown that they are capable of competing with the league’s other title-contenders.