Derrick Rose showed flashes of his pre-injury MVP-caliber form during his United Center return with Team USA on Saturday, and continues to draw high reviews from his USA coaches and teammates.
Rose admitted he's a 'totally different player' in July, but will it translate to an MVP-type season?
The ESPN Forecast panel — which consists of more than 210 members — recently ranked their top three MVP choices for 2014-15 and the experts are buying into Rose as a serious candidate.
Rose, who won the MVP award in 2011, accumulated 21 votes, ranking third only behind Cleveland's LeBron James (230 votes) and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (180).
The Bulls point guard averaged 15.0 PPG in just 10 games a year ago due to injury, and last appeared in an NBA game on Nov. 22, 2013 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The panel also voted Pau Gasol as a top-5 newcomer during the upcoming season.
Note: A first-place vote received five points, a second-place vote received three, and a third-place vote received one.