Derrick Rose wants to be MVP

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose believes he is a legitimate contender for the MVP award.

"I think so," he said after the Bulls defeated the New Jersey Nets 90-81 on Friday afternoon. "As long as we keep winning, I know I'm up there with the people that's in the race for it. I want to be it, so why not?"

Rose racked 19 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds in the win and was showered with chants of "MVP, MVP" late in the game.

"I love it," he said of the chants. "Like I say, there's no point in playing this game if you're not trying to be the best. And this year I want to be MVP."

As far as his teammates are concerned, Rose is as good as anyone in the league.

"I don't see why he couldn't [be MVP]," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "He carries our team every night. He makes plays, he scores the ball, rebounds the ball. I think he might be the only guy in the league averaging over 24 [points] and eight assists or whatever. He's special."

Rose came into Friday's contest averaging 24 points, 8.5 assists and five rebounds a game. It's those kinds of numbers that have fans and players alike believing the 22-year-old has a legitimate chance at the award.

"I'm not surprised because the talent is there," Boozer said. "The hunger is there, his heart's there. It's actually exciting to watch. As a teammate of him, it's fun to see what he's going to do every night."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.