Thursday, May 31, 2012
Bulls player recap: Taj Gibson
By Nick Friedell
Position: PF | Age: 26 | 2011-12 salary: $1,195,680
Season recap: Gibson was one of the most consistent players on the Bulls as far as energy every night. His numbers were about the same as last season, but his impact could be felt in some way on most nights. This was especially true during the postseason when Gibson was the Bulls’ most consistent player with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out for most of the series.
Season highlight: The postseason as a whole. Gibson gave the Bulls some much-needed offense at times and had 39 rebounds during the series. His best game was probably Game 4 against the Philadelphia Sixers when he went off for 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks without Noah in the lineup.
Season lowlight: Gibson sustained an ankle injury at the end of January and had to miss three games. Considering he missed just two in the past two seasons, it was tough for the third-year forward to sit on the bench. He struggled in the next few games following his return, but found his form again quickly.
Final grades -- Regular season: B | Postseason: A
Notes: Gibson injured his ankle in Game 5 of the Sixers series but managed to play in Game 6 and score 14 points and grab five rebounds. It's hard to find a player more beloved in the Bulls' locker room by teammates and coaches. Gibson plays with heart and has become a crowd favorite.
Quotes: "Whatever I can do to help the team," Gibson said after a win over the Knicks in March. "When I can get the ball in Derrick's hands or Kyle's hands for an extra possession knowing that it's going to be a real high-class shot, I'm there. I'm just happy to help the team get any kind of energy possible. That's my job; come in, bring energy, try to make small plays into big plays and just be all over the court. That's my job."
What's next?: Gibson has been selected to play on the USA Select team this summer. He will practice against Team USA as they get set to travel to London for the Olympics. It will be a great experience for Gibson and one he will undoubtedly learn a lot from. Thibodeau has made it clear that he will stick with Carlos Boozer in the starting lineup, but said recently that Gibson has earned more minutes next season.