The Chicago Bulls will face many challenges this upcoming 2013-14 season. One of the most significant for this Bulls’ roster is staying healthy. It seems like every time one player returns from injury, two more get hurt. The Bulls have stayed relatively healthy so far this preseason with the exception of Joakim Noah.
Noah has missed the last five preseason games due to a groin injury he suffered in training camp. He has always struggled to stay healthy since getting into the NBA, but this injury has not been all bad. Taj Gibson has significantly stepped up his game and shown he can help the Bulls win despite injury.
The very versatile Gibson is second on the Bulls this preseason in minutes with 27.7. The 6-foot-9 power forward hasn’t wasted a minute on the floor by showing he is more than a defensive presence. Gibson is third on the Bulls in scoring this preseason, shooting an impressive 62 percent from the field and dropping 14.2 points per game.
Last season when Noah got hurt the in the playoffs, Tom Thibodeau did not have many options. Gibson was struggling only managing two points and three rebounds per game.
But with Gibson’s much improved preseason performance, Thibodeau is beginning to gain more trust in the big man. Thibodeau has started to disport Gibson’s versatility a lot this preseason. He has been used a lot off the bench as the backup center and also gets a fair amount of work at the power forward position as well.
Hopefully for Gibson, his good play continues to roll over to the regular season. Knowing Noah’s past and injury-prone type history, Gibson may quietly be a key piece for the Bulls this season.