A few weeks ago, Derrick Rose appeared to be a man on a mission, and perhaps capable of winning another MVP.
But that's not exactly true.
Turns out he's completely possessed and he is going to win the MVP this season.
Rose is playing like a man who wants to stick it to each and every person who doubted him, criticized him and crucified him for having the gall to believe he -- and those he trusts most -- understood more about his health than those without the same knowledge.
This version of Rose is not only angry, but he's also physically imposing compared to previous versions, having spent his convalescence rebuilding himself to endure the brutality of driving among the trees and surviving an NBA season.
Combine that with Tom Thibodeau's need to win every regular-season game the Bulls play, and it adds up to a 60-win season, validation for Rose and his second MVP award in four seasons.
Don't doubt him.
Cubs and Jim Thome
Once they've concluded their manager search, the Cubs ought to consider adding Mark Grace and Jim Thome to the coaching staff.
Thome, who grew up a Cubs fan and lives in the area, is itching to get into coaching. He currently serves as a special assistant to White Sox GM Rick Hahn and would probably like to do more.
This isn't a matter of adding celebrity to the staff for the sake of it because Thome, by all appearances, would be a fine coach and add some credibility. Nevertheless, it would help Cubs execs change the subject right now and add a bit of excitement to the hiring process.
Cubs and Mark Grace
It's also long past time for the Cubs and Mark Grace to put past disagreements behind them, and the regimes with which Grace had a problem have long since departed. Grace is still wildly popular with Cubs fans and his baseball acumen is off the charts.
After serving his DUI jail time in Arizona this year, the Diamondbacks brought Grace back as hitting coach for their rookie team in the Arizona League, and they were very happy with his work.
Where Grace goes next with the Diamondbacks has not been determined, but there's little doubt he will eventually wind up on a major-league coaching staff and perhaps even manage someday.
The Cubs would be well served to try to get him back to Chicago before that occurs.
After his first return for a TD in two years, Devin Hester has revived talk among his boosters of a run to the Hall of Fame, but it's worth noting that there is only one player in the Hall, kicker Jan Stenerud, who was a full-time special-teams player.
And, no, Hester's absurd experiment as a wide receiver will not change his status as a full-time returner in the minds of voters. If he were to get in, it would have to be as a returner and only a returner.
The Caps have had someone observing the Blackhawks a lot lately, including four straight games. At the moment, Washington has many needs.
To former Buffalo Grove High School star Tim Bogar, who jumps from managing Double-A Arkansas (Angels) to Rangers bench coach -- and perhaps manager-in-waiting. Bogar was on staff with Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan in Boston, played with pitching coach Mike Maddux in Houston and was a player when manager Ron Washington was a coach in Tidewater.
Retired Tigers manager Jim Leyland: "With all due respect to the Boston Red Sox … I truly believe the Detroit Tigers should be playing here tomorrow. This is one that's going to stick with me. This is one that really hurts, because I really felt like we let it get away."
In the annual NBA survey, GMs predict the Heat (75.9 percent) will capture its third consecutive NBA title and LeBron James (69 percent) will win his third straight MVP.
Current odds to win NBA MVP, via Bovada: LeBron James (8-5), Kevin Durant (4-1), Derrick Rose (6-1) Chris Paul (10-1), Carmelo Anthony (10-1) and Dwight Howard (14-1).
From @NOTSportsCenter: "BREAKING: The NFL has passed a new rule: all touching, of any kind, will be an automatic 15-yard penalty, fine and ejection from the game."
And finally …
Miami Herald's Greg Cote: "Lexi Thompson won her second career LPGA golf title last week at age 18. My biggest accomplishment at 18 was balancing on one foot and pulling a sock onto the other without falling."
•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.