Despite losing in the first round to the Washington Wizards in the 2014 NBA playoffs, Chicago Bulls reserve Taj Gibson couldn’t have had a better season. He averaged career highs in nearly every statistical category, including 13 points per game and nearly seven rebounds in 28 minutes.
But he’s about to get an expanded role on the team next year. Recently, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Bulls management has told Gibson he will be the starting power forward alongside Joakim Noah during the 2014-15 season. This move only means that current power forward, Carlos Boozer, will either be traded or amnestied over the summer — which comes as no surprise to those following the Bulls.
Although Boozer has been a starter in Chicago for the last four years, he has become the odd man out in head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s rotation. Gibson would often play the entire fourth quarter of games due to his ability to score the basketball and defend at a high level. Boozer was never known as a defender, and that has hurt the defensive-minded Bulls over the years.
However, Gibson is the right man for the job. He has shown that he is ready for a starter’s role and was slightly edged out as the Sixth Man of the Year this season. Sure, Noah has been the anchor of the defense, but Gibson is no pushover in the paint as well. He’s a solid one-on-one defender, and is great giving help as well.
The Bulls won’t be losing much with Boozer gone either. Gibson and Boozer both averaged 13 points per game, and Gibson’s scoring average and rebounding will only go up with Boozer completely out of the picture. On top of that, Thibodeau won’t seem forced to give Boozer minutes just based on his veteran status alone. He’ll finally be gone and the city of Chicago will rejoice. This is something that most Bulls fans have been dreaming about for a very long time.
There is no doubt that Gibson will do well as a starter for the Bulls. Once the Bulls round out their roster with more shooters and scorers, Gibson can only benefit even more as his game continues to progress.