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Lebron James vs. Derrick Rose: Player of the Decade

Our first-round matchups have come and gone and we are now down to our final sixteen players. Our first matchup of the “sweet sixteen” is between our number one overall seed and the five seed. Lebron James is a transcendent talent that can play all five positions. Derrick Rose is an athletic point guard that battled Lebron countless times in the Eastern Conference. But who had the better decade out of these two rivals?

Pros of Lebron James

  • More MVP’s Then Derrick: Derrick Rose won the MVP award over Lebron, despite the inferior statistics. But he dominated the decade outside of this one season. Lebron was the league MVP in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, which shows the dominance he had during that time. Lebron was also second in MVP voting two other times this decade.
  • More Playoff Success: Lebron was the far superior player this decade when it came to playoff success. He won three NBA championships in the decade and went to eight straight NBA finals. It was an incredible run for the legend from Akron.

Cons of Lebron James

  • Did Not Win 2011 NBA Title: Lebron may have knocked Derrick Rose out of the playoffs that year, but they did not win the title. They lost to an aging Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas Mavericks team. Other notable aging players include Shawn Marion and Jason Terry as well. Lebron lost both the MVP and NBA title in 2011.
  • Losing NBA Finals Record: I know I pointed this out in my previous article, but it cannot be overstated. This writer is not a Lebron hater, but losing to Golden State three times hurt his decade. Then throw in a San Antonio and Dallas loss as well and he lost in the most finals this decade.

Pros of Derrick Rose

  • Beat Lebron For MVP: James won the MVP award four times in five years, but Derrick Rose prevented him from five in a row. Derrick Rose was impeccable in the 2011 season, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 62-20 record. They finished first in the Eastern Conference and it was Rose’s play that got them there.
  • More Resilient Player: James may have overcome quite a bit in his career, but Derrick has overcome more. Multiple surgeries and setbacks have made Derrick Rose’s career the ultimate comeback story. This writer hopes he caps it off with an NBA championship someday. Rose deserves the utmost respect for coming back and being productive.

Cons of Derrick Rose

  • Lost To Lebron In The Playoffs: Derrick Rose may have won MVP in 2011, but Lebron got the last laugh. When Chicago hosted the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, they were completely outmatched. Derrick fought to keep Chicago in the series, but they ultimately fell in five games. Lebron got the last laugh that season for sure.
  • Never Surpassed Lebron Statistically: Lebron was almost always statistically better across the board head-to-head. In thirty-eight meetings, James outscored Rose in twenty-nine of those games. He outrebounded him in thirty-seven and had more assists in twenty-one of those games. Quite simply Rose could never match up statistically to Lebron.


This matchup is an incredibly one-sided one. If you look at these two players season-by-season, the edge is nine better seasons for James and one for Derrick Rose. If you look at their head-to-head games or playoff series, James beat Rose nearly every time in the regular season. He also always eliminated Rose and his Bulls from the playoffs. This writer is a huge Derrick Rose fan, and perhaps if he stayed healthy this would be a different discussion. But Lebron James clearly was the better player this past decade.

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