Gibson had an uneven campaign a year ago, starting with ultimately successful negotiations for a contract extension admittedly distracting him at the beginning of the season, then battling nagging injuries as time went on. Entering training camp with a clear head, healthy body and in optimal physical condition after working out in Los Angeles — sometimes alongside Rose after Gibson unfortunately wasn’t able to participate in USA Basketball’s Select Team for a second straight summer because of an ankle injury — for most of the offseason, the backup big man is ready to show he’s worth the value of the deal he was rewarded with.
While teammate Mohammed is technically Noah’s backup, Gibson will again be the Bulls’ primary post-player reserve and should again log time behind Boozer and at center, given that both no significant upgrade was made at the latter position and his unique length, athleticism and agility gives the team a boost, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Gibson initially was slow to adjust to a new group of teammates on the second unit last season, specifically not having departed tag-team partner Omer Asik, but after a while, he was again a force and maintained his status as one of the league’s top interior defenders, even coming off the bench.
Although he hasn’t emerged as a consistent offensive weapon — Gibson’s post-up game and mid-range jumper show flashes, but haven’t been reliable on a nightly basis — Rose’s playmaking should allow him to capitalize on easy opportunities around the basket off penetration and when running the floor in transition. Looking ahead, even minimal progress on that end of the floor is crucial, as he could conceivably be the team’s starting power forward in 2014-15, if this is indeed Boozer’s last run in Chicago.
Make sure to check out all the Bulls previews, each spotlighting this season's expectations for individual players and head coach Tom Thibodeau: