It's no secret Stacey King is in Derrick Rose's corner, but the Bulls color analyst has been so impressed by the point guard that he wouldn't be surprised to see the Chicago native return to MVP form this season.
King, who watched Rose work out last month and who has also followed national team workouts, has steep expectations for Rose.
"His energy level, he hasn't missed a first step, he's jumping, he's explosive," he said. "He looks like the Derrick Rose of the MVP year."
Ironically, Rose's MVP year in 2010 began with him competing for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Championships. Rose is expected to be named to the final roster on Tuesday and will do so as one of the best looking players in practice and the exhibition last week. There were some doubts about how Rose, playing competitively for the first time in eight months, would look against star players who had just completed full NBA seasons, but Rose looks like the same player who led the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference before back-to-back season-ending knee injuries.
[RELATED: Rose dazzles at Team USA scrimmage]
And though there's been plenty of outside noise as to apparent rifts with the upper management, questions about whether he could have returned sooner from his ACL injury and debates about his free-agent recruiting tactics, King said that Rose has the mentality that he's out to prove to himself -- not anyone else -- that he's back to his old self.
"I see a guy that has a lot to prove to himself. He's pushing himself to be the best player he can be. He knows he's an elite player but he's had to listen the last year-and-a-half about people saying, 'he's going to lose a step, he's not going to be as explosive, he needs to change his game.' And if you've been watching the national game, he hasn't changed his game.
"You've got to be excited with what you've seen so far from him. A lot of people doubted this kid, a lot of people, they really dumped on him when he was down. This kid didn't say anything to anybody, just continued to work on his game and all the hard work is paying off as you can see on the national team."
And what has been the biggest difference for Rose this time around? According to King, it's confidence.
"He's in great spirit, his confidence is there. I thought coming back from that ACL injury he didn't lose a step. I just though it was his confidence that needed to be worked on. I thought he was turning a corner before he hurt his knee in Portland."
See more of what King had to say in the video above.