Anything that comes from the mouth of Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy seems to be laced with sarcasm and bitterness.
When he spoke to reporters on Wednesday and suggested Derrick Rose has the MVP award locked up, it was partially meant as a dig on voters who are not giving Magic center Dwight Howard strong consideration.
But Van Gundy did have some genuinely nice things to say about Rose and his candidacy.
"I'll have no problem at all if Derrick Rose wins the MVP," he said before the Magic beat he Knicks in New York. "They've got the best record in the East. He's been clearly their leader. You can make a great case for him. ... But, I still don't think anyone impacts as many possessions a game as Dwight (Howard) does."
Fair enough, but Van Gundy doesn't get a vote. That's done by NBA writers and broadcasters.
With ballots due in less than three weeks, this is a good time to ask some NBA observers with no Chicago bias the following question: "Does Derrick Rose have the MVP award locked up?"
In the minds of Chicago-area fans, saying someone else deserves the award is probably akin to arguing that someone besides Walter Payton is the greatest football player who ever lived. It's just not true.
This survey isn't meant to be a prediction, just a sampling of opinions from other parts of the NBA landscape.
Let's start with a Miami Heat beat writer, who writes, "I still think Dwight Howard has to be considered, if only because of his supporting cast, which pales in contrast to what Derrick plays alongside of. To me it comes down to where Orlando finishes record-wise and in the standings. It would be difficult to justify an MVP with a middling record."
Orlando's record is 46-26, while the Bulls are 51-19.
Here are the thoughts of a New York-area beat writer: "At the moment, I'm split between Rose and Dwight Howard. Take either away from their teams and they're bottom-rung playoff teams, at best, maybe Orlando even lottery.
"I tend to wait to see how each player's team finishes the season before I commit. ... The Bulls should finish ahead of the Magic, of course, but I'm still going to wait until all 82 games play out."
Rose and Howard share the distinction of being the lone all-stars on competitive teams. Miami, Boston, San Antonio, the Lakers and Oklahoma City had multiple players in the All-Star Game.
Denver-based NBA writer Chris Tomasson writes, "I think Derrick Rose will win the MVP this season. His play and Chicago's record are enough. But I also believe his humble attitude will play well with the voters in a season in which there figures to be some backlash due to two-time defending MVP LeBron James' not-exactly-humble approach when joining the Heat last summer."
Another veteran NBA writer who sees Rose as the strong favorite is Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "I've been thinking the same thing Stan (Van Gundy) expressed for some time. I can definitely see voting for Rose and some others, but I don't understand why Howard has been ignored. He'll be defensive player of the year again. ... That team would be in Cavs territory without him.
"I don't know why we need to pick a winner before the ballots are even sent. A little patience should help Rose, since it looks like the Bulls will pull away from the pack in the final weeks."
In Michael Jordan country, Charlotte Bobcats beat writer Richard Walker took a different view: "There's little doubt that Rose has probably done more to elevate his team to a record better than most anyone could've projected, but I think the fact that Kobe Bryant has won the MVP only once is an indictment of the system. And that may help Bryant win this year when you could easily argue that Rose deserves it."