Gibson optimistic despite demotion to bench

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Gibson optimistic despite demotion to bench

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
12:36 AM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

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.

LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan's record by becoming NBA's all-time leading playoff scorer

LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan's record by becoming NBA's all-time leading playoff scorer

The LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan debate tends to heat up around playoff time, and The King fueled the fire Thursday with his latest accomplishment.

After sinking a 3-pointer in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, the four-time NBA MVP surpassed Jordan for most postseason points in league history with 5,989. Jordan scored 5,987 points in 179 games while it took James 212 to surpass that mark.

Before the game, James said that chasing Jordan has been a personal goal of his and left the debate to media members.

The SportsTalk Live panel talked about those comments, and joined in on the debate in the video above.

Swanigan's, Diallo's decisions and how it affects Bulls' NBA Draft

Swanigan's, Diallo's decisions and how it affects Bulls' NBA Draft

The deadline for underclassmen to pull their names out of the NBA Draft passed on Wednesday at midnight.

There were a few surprises, and a handful of decisions had an effect on how the Bulls will go about next month's draft.

Staying in the draft

Caleb Swangian, PF, Purdue: The sophomore All-American surprised many by keeping his name in the draft. Swanigan actually tested the waters after his freshman season but returned to the Boilermakers in 2016. He averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 35 games, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors and was a National Player of the Year candidate. It's no secret the 6-foot-9 Swangian can score  - he had 15 games of 20 or more points - and showed some ability to shoot from deep, making nearly 45 percent of his 85 3-point attempts. Quickness and conditioning will be the real test for the 245-pound Swanigan, who has already lost significant weight since high school. Questions about his defense (he had just 27 steals and 36 blocks in two seasons) also stand out. With Nikola Mirotic's future in Chicago unknown, the Bulls could be in the market for depth at power forward. He wouldn't be an option for the Bulls at No. 14, but if he slides out of the first round he could be an option at No. 38.

D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan: After averaging just 6.1 minutes as a sophomore, Wilson burst onto the scene as a junior, averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 30.4 minutes for the Wolverines. He did his best work during the postseason; during Michigan's Big Ten Championship run and Sweet 16 appearance, Wilson averaged 15.6 points on 54 percent shooting, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. Standing 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Wilson leaves some to be desired on the defensive end but has the ability to play as a combo forward - he had a 3-inch growth spurt after high school. Like Swanigan, Wilson won't be an option for the Bulls at No. 14 but could be a second-round option. He'd give the Bulls a similar look to what Bobby Portis does with a little more versatility on the wing.

Going back to college

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky: The NBA Draft's biggest mystery could have been a home-run selection for the Bulls in the first round. Alas, Diallo has decided to play a year under John Calipari at Kentucky and likely boost his draft stock. Having not played since December, where he played at a prep academy in Connecticut, so there wasn't much film of the 6-foot-5 leaper. Still, after Thon Maker went No. 10 to the Bucks last year there was thought that a team would take a gamble on a high-upside mystery.

Andrew Jones, PG, Texas: There was little surprise that Jones, a five-star recruit who put together a solid freshman season, returned. He's still a bit raw as a prospect despite having elite size (6-foot-4) and solid athleticism, and another year running the point with incoming five-star recruit Mo Bomba could really improve his draft stock. The Bulls clearly have a need at the point (less if Rajon Rondo returns) and if Jones had made the leap he likely would have been around at No. 38. Even still, Jones is a player to keep an eye on during next year's draft, assuming Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant don't make significant improvements.

Moritz Wagner, PF, Michigan: There's a need on every NBA team for a stretch forward with 3-point potential. But those teams will have to wait at least another year after Wagner decided to return to Michigan for his junior season. Like Wilson, who kept his name in the draft, Wagner had an excellent postseason run for the Wolverines. That stretch included a 17-point effort against Minnesota and a career-high 26-point outing in a win over Louisville. He weighed in at just 231 pounds and only averaged 4.2 rebounds per game, so adding some strength to his game will help his draft prospect for next year. He could have been an option for the Bulls at No. 38.