Gibson has turned to the NBA archives to watch video of Bernard King to help improve his post game. Gibson has especially taken notice of King’s footwork and the way he was able to spin off defenders and score in the post. Aside from admiring King’s game, Gibson also likes that they’re both from the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“He’s from my neighborhood, one,” Gibson said after practice Friday. “Plus, he was a good dominant scorer in the low post. … He does that spin move I try to do under the basket a lot. He did that mostly a lot, especially with his face-up game. I’ve been taking small pieces and working on them. Lately, it’s been working and clicking, and [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] has been calling plays for me.”
Between watching King, getting more offensive opportunities from Thibodeau and spending more time in the gym, Gibson has elevated his offensive play over the past month. He’s averaged 13.6 points during December and has had four games with 19 or more points. He scored a game-high 20 points, shooting 9-of-15, in the Bulls’ win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
The Bulls haven’t received that level of consistent offensive production from Gibson since his rookie season and early into his second season. Gibson said his role has changed over time, and it’s now more about offense.
“I always felt like I could score,” Gibson said. “It wasn’t that. I was just doing what the team needed me to do. Thibs always felt like he needed me to get more post touches [in] previous years, but we always had such good teams. I was just focused on whatever the team needed. My rookie year I was just out there freelancing, having fun, shooting the ball.
“I’ve just been working. People be seeing that. I just been focusing on what my teams thinks, what my coaching staff thinks. I’ve just been putting in the work.”
Thibodeau has certainly noticed the results.
“I think it’s a big plus to have a guy you can throw the ball into the post to,” Thibodeau said. “He’s going to get a good shot up there. He’s also passing the ball very well out of the double-team, so it’s creating easy offense because it’s forcing the defense to react and collapse. I think that’s been a big plus.
“He does a lot. He can run the floor. He’s very good screener. His back to the basket is very good. He has gotten comfortable with that 17-foot face-up, so you can put him in pick-and-roll. But he is playing at a very high level. He’s playing an all-around game. Not only his defense, but his offense has been very, very good.”