For the first three years of his NBA career, Taj Gibson was one of the Bulls' most important players. His tenacity on the glass and on defense, combined with a polished offensive game for a player coming off the bench, was one of the key reasons for the team's success.
If you look at his stats from the 2012-13 campaign, you might think he had a pretty good year. But if you watched the Chicago Bulls at all this season, you’ll know that Gibson did more fitting in than standing out and he didn’t play like the player fans have become accustomed to.
With a new contract extension in place, Gibson was expected to play more freely and make highly paid big man Carlos Boozer expendable. But that player never materialized, and at times, Gibson actually looked as if he'd regressed.
The four-year veteran averaged 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds on 46 percent shooting from the field and 68 percent shooting from the foul line while averaging 22 minutes per game. But those numbers are basically similar to what he’s done the previous three years in Chicago as many people expected more from the USC alum.
Gibson played in 65 games this season, started in five of them and cracked double-digits in scoring 22 times this season but only five times when it came to rebounding. And there were far too many nights when Gibson would finish with four points and a few rebounds here and there.
The playoffs wouldn’t be much better as Gibson finished with postseason averages of 6.5 points, 3.0 rebounds on 47 percent shooting from the field, worse than his regular season numbers.
To be fair, Gibson battled a sprained MCL late in the season that slowed him somewhat, but all season long there just seemed to be something missing from his game. Hopefully he finds it this summer and goes back to being one of those players on the fringe of stardom in the NBA.
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