There is a lot that goes into winning a championship, but one thing that seems to be consistent across all sports is sacrifice, which is exactly what the Chicago Bulls have.
When the 2013-14 NBA season ended, Taj Gibson expected to be a member of the Chicago Bulls starting lineup to begin the new year. Averaging 13.8 points in 28.7 minutes per game, he definitely had the right to think he would be hearing his named blasted on the loud speakers during the Bulls introductions.
This idea was only further cemented when he took over for Carlos Boozer for basically the entire fourth quarter of every game last year. If that didn’t convince him though, the offseason media storm that followed Carmelo Anthony should have done it.
But as we begin the 2014-15 NBA season, Gibson once again finds himself in the role of first man off the bench.
The offseason addition of Pau Gasol was a major one for the Chicago Bulls. Along with a host of other additions, Gasol will help the Bulls in their pursuit of a title. If there were to be one person in the Bulls organization that had the right to be made over the signing of Gasol though it should be Gibson. After all the signs pointing toward him being named the starter, Gasol seemed to come in at the final hour to swoop his dreams away.
Now, for most NBA players this would be a crushing blow to their mental confidence (i.e. Carlos Boozer), but for Gibson this is nothing more than another opportunity to prove himself.
“My job is to continue to get better.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.” – Taj Gibson
Winning Takes Sacrifice
After being robbed of winning Sixth Man of the Year award last season, Gibson will once again sacrifice minutes and pride to come off the bench. He isn’t the only one who knows that sometimes things need to give for the team’s best interest though. Joakim Noah, who had surgery on his knee in the offseason, will also be monitoring his performance early in the year. While this may not seem like big news, it is for a guy like Noah, who’s averaged 36.1 minutes per game over the past two seasons.
Noah will most likely be joined by a host of other players on the Bulls roster who’s minutes will be monitored. Superstar point guard Derrick Rose is coming off his second major knee surgery in three seasons, while 2013-14 second team NBA All-Defensive team selection Jimmy Butler is expected to get some major minutes chopped off his mark of his 38.7 mark from last season. Let us also not forgot Pau Gasol, who has 13 years of experience on his 34-year-old body.
Thibs Needs to Learn From the Best
The Chicago Bulls clearly have a chance to win this upcoming season, but in order to do that they will need to take a page out of the San Antonio Spurs playbook and rest their star players on occasion. We all know that Tom Thibodeau will probably throw a hissy fit over hearing those words, but it needs to happen. If there has been one criticism of Thibodeau in his time with the Bulls it’s been that he plays his players too much. The bottom line is that can’t happen this season.
The average age of this Chicago Bulls team is 28 years old, and the starting five alone comes out to be 29.4. Those numbers include two key players over the age of 30 (Gasol and Mike Dunleavy), a starting center coming off knee surgery, and a superstar point guard who’s only played 10 games in the past three years. I know Thibs likes winning, but it’s a proven fact that regular seasons don’t mean a whole lot in the big picture of winning a championship (Thibodeau has a 205-107 record in the regular season compared to a 17-22 record in the playoffs).
The personnel of the Chicago Bulls is making sacrifices in order to win. If Thibs wants to do the same he needs to starting making changes to his game as well.
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