- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the NBA.
“People keep talking about the elite teams, but they keep forgetting the Chicago Bulls," Barkley said on Monday night's "Inside the NBA" on TNT. "I love (Utah Jazz point guard) Deron Williams; he’s been the best point guard in the NBA, but you have to move him down to No. 2. Derrick Rose is the new best point guard in the NBA.”
Barkley's praise came on the heels of Rose's first-ever triple-double on Monday afternoon against the Memphis Grizzlies. Rose was also named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Wednesday. Despite the praise that has continued to come his way, Rose has remained humble and grounded.
"I don't know why he did that, man," Rose said with a laugh when asked about Barkley's comments before Thursday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks. "That's his opinion. Of course, I'm happy that he said it, but we will have to see."
Rose said it hasn't been much of a challenge to keep all the accolades out of his head.
"It's easy," Rose said. "I don't watch that much TV. I don't read the papers and stuff. I stay focused and make sure I'm doing everything right on the court."
Rose has tunnel vision when it comes to reading about his own success. When his family and friends start discussing all the positive things such as Barkley's comments, the conversations get changed quickly.
"They tell me, but we never go farther than that," Rose said. "They'll tell me [what people say] then [it's] the next conversation or the next subject."
Although Rose may want to downplay the accolades, his teammates and coaches know how important how important he has been to their success this season. They believe he could be NBA MVP.
"Again, MVP is for the season," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before Thursday's game. "If you had to make [the pick] right now, what he's done for our team, I can't imagine anyone doing any more. But again, I think the big thing is how he's lifted our team."
Derrick Rose says he tries to steer clear of the praise coming his way.