Gibson's team first attitude on full display
By Adam Fluck | 10.01.2014
As last season came to an end, it appeared Taj Gibson, runner-up for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, was in line for a starting position.
The scope of that competition changed and became much tighter with the offseason signing of Pau Gasol.
Gibson, however, is taking it all in stride and his positive outlook has never wavered. When asked about his role on Wednesday, he even went as far as calling his situation a “luxury” given that he’s in a great city with great teammates and coaches.
“My job is to continue to get better,” explained Gibson, who at 242 pounds said he feels as strong, light and quick as ever. “Whoever is in front of me, I’m going to learn from them, take it in stride, never complain, just do my job. And whenever my number is called, perform.”
It’s that kind of team first attitude that is appreciated by players and coaches alike, and it’s certainly not lost on Joakim Noah.
“To win big, sacrifices must be made,” said Noah. “Taj is a proven winner, somebody who is willing to sacrifice for this team. He’s looking really good as well. He came in in really good shape, really strong. We really appreciate what Taj brings to the table. I know I do. He’s reliable and one of the best big defenders in the league. I appreciate him a lot.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau echoed that sentiment, saying that he’s not worried about Gibson’s attitude whether he comes off the bench or starts.
“I know who Taj is,” stated Thibodeau. “Whatever you ask Taj to do for the team, he’s willing to do. There are a few guys in the league, and Taj is one of them, who are very good in both roles (starting and coming off the bench). When he came into the league, he started some as a very young player. Then he adjusted and he was effective coming off the bench.
“He’s got a great motor,” added Thibodeau. “When you put him into the game, he doesn’t need five or ten minutes to warm up. He’s ready to go. He’s gotten a lot more confident and comfortable playing late in the game. I thought he got great shots for us in the fourth quarter and his defense speaks for itself. Taj will have a significant role for us.”