NBA Rank: Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose

ESPN.com Rank: 8 | Age: 23 | 2010-11 stats: 25.0 ppg, 7.7 apg, 4.1 rpg

2010-2011 rewind: Rose became the youngest player in NBA history to win the MVP award. At times during the season, Rose carried the Bulls on his back offensively and grew into the responsibility that comes with taking the big shots down the stretch. He embraced the responsibility that comes with being one of the Bulls' leaders, guiding the team to a league-best 62 victories in the regular season.

After logging so many minutes and dealing with so much pressure during the regular season, the fatigue finally started to catch up with him during the postseason. Sure, there were games when he dominated, like Game 3 in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks when he dropped 44 points, but Rose mostly looked tired during the final couple of weeks in the postseason because he was constantly having to deal with double and triple teams and nagging injuries that just wouldn't go away.

2011-2012 outlook: How does Rose take the next step in his progression after taking such a big leap last season? He's said this summer that he has been working on his post moves so that if and when this season comes around he will be more of a force down low. Unlike many NBA players, Rose has shied away from playing in pickup games, preferring to work in the gym with his own trainer, Rob McClanaghan.

Rank too high: Rose's detractors will tell you that he wasn't the MVP last season, he was simply the best story. Critics love to point to the fact that Rose is a one-dimensional player who still struggles on the defensive end. They'll say it was Tom Thibodeau's defensive schemes that got the Bulls to the top during the regular season last year.

Rank too low: He was the MVP, how can he be eighth? That will be a common refrain from Rose's supporters, of which there are many. If Rose wasn't the most dominant offensive player in the game last season, he was certainly up near the top. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer were out for big chunks of the season and Rose still managed to lead the Bulls to 62 wins. He had more pressure on him every night to deliver offensively than almost any other player in the league.

The bottom line: Rose wants to come back in even better shape this year. If he continues to work on his long range shot and defensive positioning, he will be even tougher to contain. The key for him is to stay healthy and be ready once the postseason rolls along. Rose would like to repeat as the MVP, but he knows that winning a title will be even more to him ... and his burgeoning legacy.