Blog-a-bull rebuttal to starting Gibson

Matt over at blog-a-bull had a rebuttal to my theory on starting Gibson.  Matt's probably right, and I'm probably vastly over-thinking the rotation for little reason.

His keypoints were:

  • I never thought I'd see Scott Skiles' self-sabotage as a positive example of strategy...
  • being completely blind to the franchise tailspin
  • to start Taj Gibson makes no sense.....He's not nearly as good as Tyrus (amazing
       and a bit detestable, that it's even become a discussion), and doesn't fit the team
       better either.
  • it just reaffirms how bizzare this season is, with a franchise trying to make the
      playoffs while possibly stripping the whole thing down at the same time. Not to
      mention Vinny Del Negro eager to screw up an obvious 7-man rotation he barely
      needs to touch .

My point, which probably wasn't made as well as it should be is based on the following premises:

1) Brad Miller has limited effective minutes each night.  He's our best big man, but we can't ride him for 36 minutes a game and have him play at a high level.  Everyone plays better next to Miller, but those minutes are limited.

2) Gibson will play 12-15 minutes a night.  If we don't play him next to Miller much, because we want to save Miller for key moments where Gibson likely won't be playing much anyway, then he plays next to Tyrus or Joakim.  Of the two, it's better to play him next to Joakim.

If you play Gibson 12 minutes by starting him at the 1st and 3rd quarters, then you've now put all of his minutes in what's likely the ideal pairing for the team.  

Matt blasts the idea of not starting Tyrus because he's more talented than Gibson.  I agree.  However, Miller and Noah are better players than Tyrus, but we won't start them because of what it does for the rotation not because of talent.   As such, the coaching staff and fan base are already agreeing with the idea of basing the starting lineup on some level based on how it creates a positive team rotation.

My biggest fear if Gibson were to start is that it would become an excuse for him to play 20+ minutes a game rather than a way to put him in an ideal rotation.   Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating Gibson as the better play or as someone who needs to play more. 

The second big fear is that it causes us to lose Tyrus mentally on the season.  If that happens then it's probably not worth the risk either.   One would hope that Tyrus would be fine as long as he's getting his minutes, but given that he's in a contract year it's not hard to understand why he wants the privilege of starting as it comes up in contract negotiations.

Also, while I think starting Gibson and only playing him 12 minutes would succeed despite being unorthodox.  I'm certainly not opposed to just starting Tyrus/Noah and taking the major minute players happier.


Leave a comment
  • I buy the notion about if you start Taj, you lose Tyrus. I'm still not sold on Tyrus' "talent". His talent is what, exactly? Jumping?

  • Um? How about shot-blocking, rebounding, getting to the FT line and shooting a good percentage from there, being one of our only big men besides Miller who can make a 15ft jumper. Taj hasn't done anything until he proves himself in the real season. His pre-season performance is fools gold. Esp, since we've only played two decent teams all pre-season.

  • In reply to ssheth12:

    Gibson and Johnson are making Thomas and Deng compete for their starting positions and that is great for the Bulls.

    For whatever the reason, Deng and Thomas are undependable! If Gibson ends up being the starter over Thomas that is great. Thomas can crank it up and get his job back or he can cry some more! Gibson's maturity and talent are surprising, especially to Thomas!!!!!!!!!!

    Lets hope that Thomas steps up and gets his starting postion back, it is all good at the foward positions if he does because the competition makes them all better.

  • In reply to ssheth12:

    I don't agree with Doug on this one, but he sure knows how to present an argument better than the other guy.

    I'd start Miller & Noah but with Tyrus getting more minutes than Miller. If Tyrus shows that he absolutely has to be in the starting line up, no problem.

    I hope Taj gets some minutes, but the big 3 need to carry the load.

  • In reply to ssheth12:

    "Find a way to get my points..."

    I don't know how this Tyrus Thomas or Taj Gibson starting rotation will align itself. Tyrus is a 4th year power forward whose play should stomp out any comparison to a rookie, every single game.

    But driving into work today I remembered a newspaper quote from TT during the past few days: "I need a way to find my points."

    Then it struck me, these aren't the words of a 4th year power forward coming into his prime. I don't know if Tyrus is selfish, but it sounded selfish.

    I don't remember Rose ever saying, "I need a way to find my points." I do remember Rose saying things like not caring about scoring, but caring about winning.

    Back to Tyrus, we don't need a player in a contract year talking about finding a way to score his points. We need Chicago Bulls talking about finding a way to win.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    I'd agree it sounds a little selfish, but I think it's also partly a product of that place in a career. Players come in just happy to be in the NBA, knowing that they're the low guy on the totem pole in many respects no matter how talented they are. Then there's that phase at the end of the rookie contract where it seems like a lot of guys are a little more focused on getting "their" minutes and "their" stats - and that makes sense for where they are in their careers. Not only is that second contract looming, but they're coming into their own as players and defining who they're going to be on the court. A couple years later, and a lot of guys are coming into that vet realization that the team sometimes does better if they step back their game in certain ways.

    Not saying every player is like that, or that the timeline is the same for everyone, but the pattern seems fairly common to me.

  • In reply to clancy:

    Also agree here too.
    Tyrus is probably concerned a bit too much with the contract year at this point, which is both good, bad, and natural. Ideally everyone does whats best for the team, but realistically, like you say, thats usually only done by those that have their roles figured out and are more the vet mindset.

    Tryus is another enigma this year IMO. We need him to breakout and be the 20/10 player we've always wanted...Tyrus needs this as well for his contract...But is often the case sometimes the two dont go hand in hand in total team productivity...

    THEN, if he does get 20/10-ish, the Bulls are saddled with: was it a fluke, do we pay the kid, or do we use it as trade bait for an allstar.

    It seems the answers are never very clear with Tyrus. An easy prediction would be Tyrus gets better but continues to be inconsistent, and the tight bulls management doesnt want to pay him want Tyrus thinks his worth is. Yup, another one in the long line : (

  • In reply to clancy:

    I don't see why Tyrus feels he has earned the starting spot. He has been inconsistent and more importantly he only plays hard one in every 5 games. If he wants the starting spot than he needs to earn it. Thomas is effectively the starter by default becasue there is no reliable veteran PF on our roster. During crunch time in the playoffs the bulls coaching staff went with Miller and Noah up front because Tyrus could not be counted on to produce.

  • In reply to clancy:

    There is no doubt that Tyrus is, and will be, the starter for this team along with Joakim. Taj is not close to a role like that defensively nor physically. I like Taj getting about 10 mins a night--tops. Personally, I'd try to get JJ as much or more--at Taj's expense if necessary.

    As for Brad, our best line-ups last year did not have Miller in the top 2 5-man rotations AT ALL--according to 82 games.I think its mostly to do with the fact that you have to play defense, too.

    As for VDN starting Taj last game--it means nothing. He might start Kirk when Derrick comes back, too.

    Our best front court is Tyrus and Noah. They know what they need to do this year and they understand that the hopes of keeping this team together rides on their ability to outplay opposing front courts. Personally, I think they're ready to do that.

  • In reply to clancy:

    Is our best front-court Tyrus and Noah? I'm not so sure. If Tyrus Thomas is reduced to a bench player, then the Bulls mine as well trade him off. Who might be candidates to replace him?


    I think we will have to see how things play out during the 1st half of the season. People have to keep in mind that the Bulls drafted Taj Gibson because they don't have faith or trust in Tyrus Thomas. The same can be said about the drafting of James Johnson. The Bulls don't have faith or trust in Luol Deng either.

    All I know is, Tyrus Thomas and Luol Deng need to step up their play, if they plan on getting solid minutes this year. My gut tells me that some changes still need to be made to this roster. In other words, Tyrus Thomas and Luol Deng need to go elsewhere.

  • In reply to clancy:


    I see what your trying to say about me projecting my view of Tyrus onto Tyrus. But I think it's the other way around. I think the lack of consistent effort by Tyrus ( ie not running the floor)or silly turnovers forces the bulls coaching staff to take him out of the game.
    The coaching staff would not take him out of the game If he was producing on the court (I don't think there is some hidden agenda against Tyrus), they take him out because they feel it gives the bulls a better chance to win.

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    I GOT IT!!!

    I finally figured out who Taj Gibson reminds me of as a player...PJ Brown.

  • In reply to rkraneis:


    What about my Marcus Camby trade idea?

    (see above)

  • In reply to rkraneis:

    Good Point.

  • I have no problem with Vinny starting Taj over Tyrus. I think the reason is very simple, Gibson is a guy that understands he's a hard working glue guy, and Thomas on the other hand is a guy that still see himself as this highly drafted budding star. As skilled players, they are pretty much comparable, but I don't think it's all that close when it comes to overall team chemistry. Taj is the smarter basketball player, and the fact that he's been able to hold on to the starting job proves it.

  • In some sense starting Taj and bringing Tyrus off of the bench would resemble what Denver did with Dahntay Jones and J.R. Smith last year. The difference for the Bulls though is they don't have as much offense on the floor as Denver did in that starting lineup and JR is much more of a pure offensive player (some would say "chucker") than Tyrus. Ty's a guy who can do good things when active and in the flow of a game but doesn't neccessarily have the self-contained game that makes for a good boost off of the bench.

    Ultimately, I think I'd start Tyrus. If both Noah and Ty really got stronger over the offseason than that frontcourt can be better together. And whether or not we plan on keeping Ty shouldn't be a consideration: his playing well only increases the amount of options the front office will have into the trade deadline and offseason.

    I'll bet Taj gets 10-20 minutes per game though as the 4th big, which isn't bad at all from the 26th pick.

  • How about trading Tyrus Thomas?

    To Bulls: Marcus Camby, Mardy Collins and Rasual Butler (buy him out)

    To Clippers: Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng and a #1 Pick


    PG - Rose/Pargo/Hunter
    SG - Hinrich/Collins/Byars
    SF - Salmons/Johnson
    PF - Gibson/Miller/Gray
    C - Noah/Camby/James


    PG - B.Davis/Telfair
    SG - Gordon/R.Davis/Rush
    SF - Deng/Thornton/Novak
    PF - Griffin/Thomas/Smith
    C - Kaman/Jordan/Skinner
    * Bulls would send out $15.1 million and take in $14.96 million, thus both teams avoid the luxury tax.

    I wouldn't mind seeing this trade happen. I think it could work.

  • Doug, I agree...

    Unless Tyrus shows us anything significantly different in his 4th year, he will become a role player indefinitely in the NBA, off the bench.

    If I were a coach, I would value player consistency. Knowing what a player will do and that he'll do it every night is priceless.

    I hope Tyrus proves me wrong, because there are few players on the Bulls as exciting as Tyrus on a good night. I hope he has a breakout year. Time will soon tell.

  • Doug,

    I would love to see the Bulls build their roster with solid veterans and exciting young players at each position.

    They already have that at the Point Guard and the Center Position, but not so much at the Shooting Guard, Small Forward and Power Forward positions.

    Personally, I think they need to find a way to trade Luol Deng, move Salmons back to Small Forward and then add a veteran at Shooting Guard (Wade) and one at Power Forward (Bosh, Amare' or Lee).

    That's the direction I want to see the Bulls organization go.

  • Even adding Marcus Camby, for a few years, wouldn't be a bad idea.

Leave a comment