Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
By Aggrey Sam
Instead of being down about losing his spot in the starting lineup, Taj Gibson sees coming off the bench as a great opportunity to develop - something very realistic, judging from the success of Carlos Boozer's last understudy.
"I feed off Carlos. We go at it every day in practice. When Coach brings me in his office, he talks to me, we watch film. He tells me, 'Just learn from this, get better.' I look at the situation how in Utah, Paul Millsap was behind him and just learned from him, and it was a positive. You look at Millsap now, he's doing well," said the second-year power forward.
"We've got a good, strong connection. Before the game, after games, we talk a lot about the games. I talk to Thibs and he trusts my defense. I'm defensive-minded. I said before the year, even before Carlos came back to the lineup, it's not going to affect the way I play. I'm still going to go out there and play the same game."
Gibson also realizes he has an opportunity to carve out a new niche for himself as a go-to player on the second unit.
"I've got, basically, freedom. Because when I come off the bench, Coach tells me he's going to live and die with my shot. He's giving me a lot of confidence. Booz, Derrick, the guys, they give me a lot of confidence - we've got a great team, a bunch of good guys, no animosity. As far as that, it's just about winning right now. I tell Booz every day, I want to go deep into the playoffs and that's all it's about - winning these games and getting to the next level," he explained.
"Coach draws plays up for me. He says that I'm real tough in the post - he tells me, 'When you're out there, just be aggressive. Don't shy away from anything. You didn't shy away from anything early in the season when you were starting; don't shy away now.' I just feed off the way Kyle Korver is playing because when Kyle's in, guys are just zoning to him. I just take my time and whenever my number's called, I'm ready to step in and knock down a shot or get a rebound."
Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.