For the last few seasons da Bulls identity has been tough defense, and next to Joakim Noah no one has given as much effort on that side of the ball as Taj Gibson. A player many around the NBA considered a starter at PF, Taj decided to stay when he could have had more opportunities for a bigger role in free agency. As often as he has played injured and given his body for da Bulls’ cause, it is somewhat a shame he never really got a shot as the starter, with new additions making it complicated. So it seems he will now get to play with defensive wingman Noah on the 2nd unit. Recovering from ankle surgery in the offseason, Gibson fell a little behind this summer with the implementation of the new offense from head coach Fred Hoiberg. However, his game should find room in the offense and his defense will be needed come playoffs when it will be harder to depend on the Spaniards, an older Noah, or a rookie in fast-rising 1st round pick steal Bobby Portis.
I think there is plenty of room for all if the objective is to enter the postseason healthy and as versatile as possible to cause problems for opponents. We have seen most teams go small, but the main roadblock has and will still be Lebron James’ Cavaliers, who have stayed big by finally re-signing their garbage man Tristan Thompson. Although the Cavs will play small a lot, in the playoffs they found an identity as a defensive unit without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving on the floor that propelled them into the Finals. Taj will become even more valuable in the playoffs to da Bulls for this reason, and it is reason enough to keep this roster intact. Still, a GM should always at least listen to every offer made available with due diligence as there are as many bad GMs as competent ones. Bobby Portis can do many of the same things Taj provides, but this team is built to win and Gibson has and should continue to show he deserves a shot to win with this team.
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