NEW YORK -- LeBron James is convinced that Derrick Rose is going to return to MVP form in the future. After watching Rose go off for 30 points and seven assists in his team's Thursday loss to the Chicago Bulls, James believes that Rose is going to make his way all the back to an elite level after missing a majority of the past 2½ seasons because of two major knee injuries.
"I think Derrick looked great last night," James said during Friday's All-Star media availability. "I haven't seen him as much this year, obviously. But the game last night, it just showed what he's capable of doing. He went back door on one play last night, dunked the ball."
Both teammates and opponents can tell that Rose is starting to find his confidence again.
"When D-Rose is feeling good, he's attacking, and that's what he did to us last night," James continued. "Transition, getting to the rim, up-and-unders, reverses. He's shooting that two-foot pullup, one-hander. That's the MVP and the All-Star that we all have grown accustomed to loving, so hopefully, he can get back to that. I think he can. I'm a big D-Rose fan anyways. I love D-Rose, love his game and it was great to see him perform like he did last night, even in competition."
James wasn't the only All-Star singing Rose's praises on Friday. After all the former MVP has been through to get back on the floor, many players expressed genuine pleasure in seeing Rose perform well again on the floor.
"He looks good. He looks really good," Oklahoma City Thunder star and reigning league MVP Kevin Durant said. "Seeing he had 30 points last night, he's getting his stride. He's been out for two years, man. I know ya'll are expecting him to be right back to MVP-caliber play. Of course, he's an MVP-type player. But he's human, too. So being out for so long -- I know firsthand, injuries, rust is real. He's been out two years, man. He's starting to get his legs up under him; he looks great."
Rose's performance on the floor has been up and down this season, but many All-Stars remarked on how impressed they've been with the composure Rose has shown off the floor. Despite the criticism from media and fans early in the season after several lingering injuries kept him off the floor, Rose remained positive about his future.
"He looks great," Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul said. "I watched the game last night. He's got a lot of explosiveness back. D-Rose is fine. Early in the season when everyone was saying, 'What's wrong? What's wrong?' He's a competitor and you're not going to make shots every night, and I understand that. And I think he's playing hard, he's helping that team win and he just keeps playing, which is what I like."
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard isn't sure why Rose dealt with such heavy criticism early in the season, but he spoke for many All-Stars on Friday while discussing how happy he was to see Rose doing what he does best. Over the past week, Rose has shown glimpses of getting back to MVP form.
"He's a huge star for the game of basketball," Lillard said. "So everybody just expects him to be the MVP Derrick Rose right away after he's dealt with some injuries, and I think he'll be that guy. It just takes time. He's not Superman. You can't expect somebody to deal with those type of injuries and just automatically snap back into being who they were."