Rose Wins TNT Blessing for Rookie of the Year


Mar 26

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Derrick Rose Thursday won the first official hurdle for the race for Rookie of the Year.

The TNT crew of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber, in the pregame to the Bulls/Heat game, came down in favor of Rose for Rookie of the Year. Though Rose has been a favorite for much of the season as the No. 1 overall pick while having an impressive season, the opinions of the national broadcasters carry considerable influence as voting starts next week.

The Bulls’ promotion of Rose for the award, including rose colored 3-D type glasses mailed to media members around the NBA starting next week, also was revealed on the show.

The cardboard glasses come in a box saying “As seen on TV.” Webber tried on the glasses, giving the Bulls’ promotion a boost, though the iconoclastic Barkley joked that he was hoping for something more expensive.

Rose, meanwhile, told reporters before Thursday’s game that he informed the team he was able to play and was informed by coach Vinny Del Negro he would come off the bench for the first time this season with Kirk Hinrich starting again after Hinrich’s impressive game in Tuesday’s win over Detroit. It’s been a big national exposure week for the Bulls with their second TNT game of the week. They are scheduled on TNT again April 9 at home against the 76ers.

The pregame show was mostly devoted to Rose’s candidacy as Rookie of the Year.

Webber said he felt Rose and Memphis’ O.J. Mayo should tie as Grant Hill and Jason Kidd did in 1995. Webber, apparently unaware of the voting, said as the NBA did it. The voting is by media members and broadcasters. Elton Brand and Steve Francis also tied in 2000.

Smith, a point guard, said Rose should win because he is playing the more difficult position, and that the Bulls’ talent and previous year record is not really much better than Mayo’s team. Webber used that information as one reason to give Mayo half the award.

Barkley, ever inconsistent, first said Russell Westbrook should win, though he eventually backed off that and decided, “Rose is going to win. I expect him to win.”

Smith then raised the key question: If you were doing the draft over again today, whom would you pick No. 1? After a long pause, both Barkley and Webber agreed it would be Rose.

“That’s it,” said Smith. “You have your rookie of the year.”

Rose entered the game for Ben Gordon with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter and Miami leading 14-13. The Bulls went longer with Hinrich, who plays the best defense among the guards on Dwyane Wade. Coach Vinny Del Negro denied before the game the Bulls were going with Hinrich again for defense on Wade. He said Rose was sore and hadn’t practiced. Rose was wearing a bandage on his right wrist. But the injury clearly gave Del Negro a way to go with Hinrich on Wade, which was the right move, made obvious by Ben Gordon playing just half the first quarter, which ended with the Bulls ahead 26-25.

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