Pointed Debate: Mario Chalmers Greater Than Derrick Rose Someday?

For some the night might be a vague memory by now, but for me it’s still rather vivid.

Of course, that might have more to do with the fact I eat, breathe, and sleep Miami sports, and the Miami Heat in particular, than it does with how great my memory is.

Nah, truth be told, I’ve got a very good memory. Might wanna remember that, haters!

Anyway, the night in question was November 5, 2008. It was a game between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers at AmericaAirlines Arena, and was just the fourth game of Mario Chalmers career.

Yet, that game forever changed the perception Miami Heat fans had of Mario Chalmers. From that moment on, he had “potential.”

Coming out of college Almario Vernard “Mario” Chalmers wasn’t seen as some potential savior of the Miami franchise. That designation belonged to the Heat’s first-round, second-overall pick Michael Beasley out of Kansas State.

In fact, Miami didn’t even draft Chalmers, instead acquiring him from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had drafted him with their thirty-fourth pick, for two 2009 second-round picks and cash considerations. November 5 would change people’s view of “Mario” instantly.

In that game he was stellar on defense, setting a Miami Heat franchise record recording 9 steals in a 106-83 win for the Heat over the 76ers.

His nine steals also tied him with Quinn Buckner of the Milwaukee Bucks for the second-most steals by a rookie in NBA history, behind only Ron Harper who recorded 10 during the 1986-87 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Chalmers overall game during that Miami win was rather impressive as well. Along with his nine steals he recorded six points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out six assists while only turning the ball over two times.

There was incredible debate at that time whether or not the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls had gotten the better player in the draft.

The Bulls had gotten a lucky bounce in the lottery and were able to take Derrick Rose first overall ahead of the Heat (who had the worst record in the NBA the year prior, and therefore the greatest chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick) who “wound up with Beasley”.

After the November 5 win for the Heat over the Sixers, some in the media, however, began to whisper, “Did the Heat actually get the best point guard coming out of this draft after all?”

Now, granted there have been two full seasons that have taken place since then and now, but as much as many are going to call me absolutely insane, I still wonder about that.

Certainly, Derrick Rose seems a more gifted athlete. He’s got a better handle than Chalmers to a degree, and far more confidence.

Some of that is because of his talent, and some of it, in my view, is simply situational. Rose was thrust into the position he’s in, and thrived in it. He’s the go-to guy for the Bulls, and has reveled in the role.

Chalmers never had that opportunity, and probably wouldn’t have actually excelled as much as Rose has in it. He’s just not a “score-first” player. If he had been, he would have averaged far more even in college than he did.

However, I still believe the question is legitimate. Did the Miami Heat get the best “point guard” coming out of that draft?

Again, I know many will laugh at the idea.

However, while Rose may end up being a more prolific scorer than Chalmers will ever be, while Rose may end up with “better” stats, I believe there’s still a chance, especially given Chalmers opportunity now of playing on possibly the greatest team ever assembled, to show he can be the better “true point guard”.

And truth be told, Rose may not end up with better stats than Chalmers when their careers are over. How many players just like Rose have we seen come and go? Steve Francis? Starbury?

There’s a distinct possibility that Rose ends up on the trashheap of “talented” wannabes, for he’s certainly done nothing so far to be deserving of some “great” mantle in the NBA.

So, laugh if you will, but the conversation five to ten years from now might not be who was a better point guard, but how anyone could have thought Rose was even close.

Tags: Derrick Rose Kansas State Mario Chalmers Miami Heat Michael Beasley Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Philadelphia 76ers

  • bennyvargas

    I don’t know if he’ll ever be considered better than Rose but I do feel the gap between say Chalmers and Rose is definitely smaller than say between Rose and Wade. People in Chicago really believe Rose is almost as good as Wade.

    • Hotnuke

      I know, Benny, Bulls fans are seriously deluded. The simple fact is, Rose isn’t anywhere near as good as they believe he is.

      Chalmers may never live up to the hype he got after that game, but he’ll finally have the opportunity to play with a fabulous team and see if he can hack it. If he can, I don’t see any reason why he might not be considered better than Rose when it’s all said and done.

      I’ll say this right off the bat, that if all goes well for him, he’ll be battling Rose and Rondo for an All-Star slot this season. The only way that DOESN’T happen is if he just goes out there and lays an egg. With this team around him, if he does well, his numbers are going to skyrocket.

  • bennyvargas

    o and great read.. I remember that Chalmers 9 steal performance and thought he was going to really blossom into a solid starter…let’s see if he takes that step this year.

  • WilltheThrill

    This is hilarious. Whatever you are on, I want some. Rose destroys Chalmers. You can’t be serious.

    • Hotnuke

      WilltheThrill, laugh all you like, but I think you’re going to be shocked by how well Chalmers does now that he’s surrounded by the Three Kings.

  • Sander Sobera

    After reading this article, I’m seriously considering removing this site from my favorites. I’m all for homer-ism, but Chalmers on the same level as Rose?! Are you freaking kidding me?

    Have you seen the last two years of Heat basketball? I have watched every game, and while Rio shows that he might be a solid PG (at best a Derek Fisher type), Rose is a star. Unequivocally the best player from that draft. Chalmers disappears from games.

    In the article you state: “Chalmers never had that opportunity, and probably wouldn’t have actually excelled as much as Rose has in it.”. For the last two seasons, he’s played on a team no one expected to be a contender. That means there was no pressure and Chalmers lost his starting job to Carlos Arroyo…a journeyman. And you want to make the case that he’ll be a great point guard? Ridiculous.

    His defense is misleading. He’s really good at playing the passing lanes and that’s how he gets his steals, but have you seen him trying to keep any player in front of him? He’s in the wrong profession. He should be matador the way he lets people drive by him.

    My point is, while good, Chalmers is a back up point guard at best right now. I hope I’m wrong and he becomes everything you wrote because I love the Heat, but lets not talk crap and say: “So, laugh if you will, but the conversation five to ten years from now might not be who was a better point guard, but how anyone could have thought Rose was even close.”. I never comment on blogs but this one was just too insulting.

    • Hotnuke

      Sander, if someone having a differing opinion than you would cause you to forego coming to this site, you’d probably be best served going somewhere else. This isn’t a site catered to your whims, desires, or beliefs.

      However, if you can stomach someone actually disagreeing with you, perhaps you’ll continue to read on.

      As for the cause of your irritation, I’m sorry, but your assessment of Mario Chalmers is simply something I don’t agree with. You’re welcome to believe he’s not capable of being a great point guard, but I’ve watched enough of him to believe otherwise.

      Will he succeed? That’s a question only time and his play on the court will answer. However, I believe that now that he’s surrounded by so much talent, and doesn’t feel the need to be some kind of savior at times (which is precisely how he must have felt in some games when Wade wasn’t doing well and Beasley was playing his Ghost role).

      I believe surrounded by such talent you’re going to see his confidence, and more importantly, his numbers, skyrocket this season, and that he’ll be competing for an All-Star berth with such players as Rose and Rondo.

      If you’re shocked by that statement, get ready for more of it this season, because I’m as controversial as they come…lol

      • Sander Sobera


        Thanks for responding. I don’t have a problem with people having a difference of opinion. IMO, that’s what makes discussing, sports fun. I also do not believe that anyone should cater to my “whims, desires, or beliefs” and never stated as such. Everyone is free to think what they want and should have to right to.

        I came to this site looking for Heat commentary, news, and insight (which I mostly found). However, after I read this post, I feel that you as the writer of the post lost credibility with me.

        First off, let me start by pointing out where we agree. I don’t know if Chalmers stats will “skyrocket” as you say, but they should improve significantly from last year. The talent around him should (I hope) elevate his game.

        Now, let’s talk about where we disagree. Other than the nine steal game, what about Rio’s game in the last 2 years has shown you that he will become an allstar? Does he have the ability to get into the lane whenever he wants? Does he posses lockdown defense? Does he have a consistent mid-range game? No he doesn’t, the only thing that seemed to have improved from year to year was his 3pt shooting and even that would be incorrect. His 3pt shooting actually dropped from 37% to 32% (http://www.nba.com/playerfile/mario_chalmers/career_stats.html). Even the strength you mentioned in post, his steals dipped from year one to year two (2.0 to 1.20 SPG). Given, this could be attributed to less playing time, but that’s also his fault for not being effective enough. He was handed the PG position and lost it twice.

        My point is these stats along with what we’ve seen the last two years has shown that he’s not anywhere near the elite point guard you say he will be. Rajon Rondo in the Boston playoff series made every guard on the Heat staff look amateur. Nobody could guard him except for Wade. Rose is just as talented as Rondo and has a better jumper & shoots better free throws. That’s why Team USA kept Rose and not Rondo (I know he “left” but they were going to cut him, it’s no secret).

        What upset me about your post is that it sounds like your making proclamations based on nothing but your own feelings. There are no stats backing your claim other a random game against the Sixers that he had 9 steals. What about getting Chalmers history against elite point guards? You can’t post that because it would completely contradict your point.

        That in my opinion gives you the same credibility of a 1-800 number fortune teller and makes me not value that opinion. You’re just posting something to be controversial. That’s fine, you have the right to do that, but I also have the right to state my point and decide to not read your opinion pieces. That said, thank you again for responding to my post and giving me the opportunity to respond.

        I will make one claim in the spirit of this post. I think its feasible is that Mike Miller could be the top player in 3pt shots made & percentage this upcoming season. My stats to back that up is that Miller shot 48% last season (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=558) on a terrible Wizards team. Here he will be shooting open 3′s all day. It’s going to be a good season.

        • Hotnuke

          Sander, as I said, you’re welcome to believe what you like. As for you contention that I didn’t bring enough “evidence” to back my claim up, I had no intention of bringing hard evidence to the argument precisely because it was irrelevant, which is something I felt I made adequately clear.

          Rose and Chalmers have faced completely different circumstances in their careers so far, and stats wouldn’t tell anyone anything about what might happen in the future.

          As Mark Twain once said, “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

          This case is a prime example of that. Nothing about the stats either player has put up over the last two years would tell you anything realistic about how well Chalmers might do in the future as compared to Rose. What those stats WILL do, is lead you down a road of assumption that isn’t pretty.

          As Morris Buttermaker said in “Bad News Bears”, when you assume, you make an “Ass” out of “U” not “me”.

          You finish by saying I seem to have written the article solely to be controversial. I won’t admit to that, because I do believe Chalmers has a shot at being better than Rose someday. This is based on having watched both players over the last couple of years, as well as the situations they now find themselves in.

          I believe Rose’s career is going to decline, and that he’s very likely to be injured soon, and probably won’t ever recover from it enough to be what all the Bulls fans have in their dreams. Chalmers, on the other hand, playing alongside the Three Kings, I believe will simply flourish like never before, and will become and be considered, one of the best point guards in the NBA.

          Believe otherwise if you like, but that’s my take. Yes, it’s controversial, and meant to be so to a degree, but it’s not as if I don’t actually believe it, I do.

          • Sander Sobera


            Point taken, we will just agree to disagree on Chalmers. Although, I hope your right because that would be good news for the Heat.

            I do love your Passion for the Heat & your Morris Buttermaker reference. I might have been in a bad mood when I wrote my first post. Thanks for discussing this civially.

          • Sander Sobera

            That Mario Chalmers prediction not looking so great huh? It still wouldn’t look so bad if Rose wasn’t having a MVP year. I love that he’s now added the super aggressive body up that’s a guaranteed foul to his defensive repertoire. Man has it been frustrating watching him this year.

  • http://www.imflashy.com C

    Gay polls+Gay articles= Gay author and a gay site.

    Chalmers greater than Rose hahahahaha. When in their lifetime? Chalmers is barely a PG. Id give him an edge on defense to Rose but Rose would make up for it off FTs alone. hahaha.

    And to the guy above me. Rose actually is closer to Wade than you think. Hes what? 22? Wade is 28. Wade jus got a midrange jumper 2 years ago and lost it last year. Rose is gettin there.

    • Hotnuke

      C, judging from your first sentence, I can only surmise you’re probably homophobic. You do know that some studies have shown that homophobia is generally a sign of closeted gay tendencies, right?

      Anyway, have a nice day…;-)

  • G

    no comparison at all. rose is already one of the top 3/4 point guards in the league. he is the most athletic, probably the fastest, probably the strongest, and probably the most explosive. with a 3 point shot (which he developed over the summer), he is unguardable. and he should make his way onto the list of the top 10 players in the league. he also has improved his defense which he showed on the usa team. and for the guy who said ppl in chicago must be nuts about saying rose is better than wade, first of all…ppl r saying rose could be better than wade bcuz he has the tools, some nba experts on tv even have said that rose is becoming a wade like performer and soon could be better. in his first 2 years has taken the bulls to the playoffs with barely any talent. he has embarrassed many stars in this league when they guard him. and with tons of talent on his team now, he should only improve.

    • Hotnuke

      I won’t say much, as I think Sander covered it well enough, other than to say, have a nice day, Troll…;-)

  • G

    heat fans r a joke. 90% of u guys became heat fans on july 8th. u guys r bandwagon jumpers no doubt. first of all, i couldnt stop laughing when i read the thing on the side that said “after the heat win their first 2 championships”, u heat fans really r stupid. wade and lbj both need the ball in their hands to run an effective offense, this isnt the olympics u idiots. this is an 82 game season. and with lbj and wade mostly handling the ball, bosh shouldnt get as many points since he was the center piece for toronto and will be an ineffective factor on this heat team. u guys have no bench other than haslem and miller. the rest r old guys, guys who should be out of nba jobs or guys who are not ready to play in the nba yet. im a true basketball fan, im a bulls fan. and in the past DECADE we have been number 1 in attendance each night. and we have been in the top 10 in attendance b4 mj, during mj and still after mj. we have put together some good young talent, and some good role players that when it all comes together, we are one of the most dangerous teams to face. the heat is just a team with 3 stars thrown onto the court with overrated players and scrubs. and dont think for one second that u guys will get some championships easily, bcuz there are a lot of teams in the east and west that improved also and could put together a strong team.

    • Hotnuke

      By the way, G, although I have nothing to prove to someone like you, I’ve been a Heat fan since the day they were awarded a franchise.

      In fact, I’m the exact OPPOSITE of a “bandwagon” fan, as I grew up a Detroit Pistons fan, and switched my allegiance from the NBA Champion Pistons to the fledgling explansion Heat team when “bandwagon” fans do the exact opposite…lol

      I could regale you with how long I’ve been posting on Miami Heat boards on ESPN or elsewhere, but it would actually be a waste of time likely. So, I’ll simply end with, have a good day. Hope you love watching the Miami Heat win titles over the next six or seven years or so, because you’re gonna be doing just that regardless…;-)

  • G

    @Hotnuke face it already. chalmers wont be an all-star and if he is, it’ll be because all the star, great, good and decent point guards r injured

    • Sander Sobera


      I love that the only way to comfort yourself for the off season the Bulls had is to troll Heat message boards and basically say the heat have only 3 good players and they won’t mix. Almost like your repeating it into a mirror trying to convince yourself everything will be alright. You got one decent player in Carlos Boozer who is always injured. Did you see how much playing time Boozer had playing for Team USA? Not much. Is he a good piece? Yes, but not great or team changing. The Jazz liked him but thought they could find equal production for less.

      Ultimately, talk is cheap, we will see when the season is played out who is on top. The Heat won’t go undefeated, but I would bet my house they will end the season better than the Bulls.

      Also, your argument about who has better fans is irrelevant to this discussion. I understand the undercurrent of it is that we don’t deserve this team. Maybe we don’t, but we have them. Make no mistake, this team will dominate this decade. I think you’ll be surprised how the rest of “old guys” will respond this season when they are shooting open uncontested shots.

      I do agree with your point about Chalmers though. I made it earlier in the comments section.

  • heatgirl

    It is completely understandable that Bulls fans are nervous and quivering in their boots. Why the hell would they want the Heat to challenge them as one of the greatest franchises in NBA History. Reality will slap the Bulls on the face when the season starts. Noah is garbage and soft, Rose is nowhere near a D Wade, Boozer is past his prime and injury prone. Before you compare Rose to Wade just take a look at the resume. Rose has done nothing except get beat in the first round of the playoffs.

    • Hotnuke

      I have a feeling Bulls fans are going to be supremely disappointed in this upcoming season, as they watch all their ridiculous dreams go up in smoke.

      Thanks for the read and comment, heatgirl…;-)