Despite Personal Skid, Taj Still Has Green Light to Shoot

Despite Personal Skid, Taj Still Has Green Light to Shoot

Taj Gibson's was the premier post and baseline scorer for the Bulls in their first eight games. Though, he's struggled in the last two, he's still gonna attack his good looks to score.

taj baseline jumper.jpg

Though second-year Taj Gibson has shot 1-for-16 in the two games of the Circus Trip,
so far, he still has the green light to take those jumpers from the
elbow and baseline when he has the look, Sam Smith reported:

Gibson had been the surprise of the early season home stand shooting
above 60 percent before the trip started, and it's somewhat unique for
him because he's never been in a shooting slump.

Though basically because until this season he never shot jumpers before.

"I'm shooting 15-, 17-footers now," said Gibson. "I haven't been a
shooter before. Now, I'm coming off screen/rolls
, trying to shoot. It's
been kind of tough the last two games because I had open looks and they
did not go.

"But Derrick and coach told me in the huddle to keep shooting, don't
," said Gibson.

And why not? Even a two-game run like
that still has him shooting 51.5% on the season with a very significant
9.9 shots per game -- 43% on 49 shots at 16-23 feet from the basket.

issue that should aid his consistency will be the rest he can get when
Carlos Boozer returns to the rotation. Less minute pounding on a foot
injury, that Smith notes is definitely still nagging Taj:

[Taj:] "My reaction is to keep playing. If I'm having a
rough night to contribute in other ways, rebounding and defense.
There's going to be ups and [downs].
I've got to keep pushing through."

For his part, Thibodeau, who is always publicly supportive of his
players, said Gibson has been playing well and helping in other areas.
Though Gibson is not the kind to make excuses, I read into his "up and
down" comment that his plantar fasciitis, which never truly went away
this summer, continues to bother him at times, and he didn't seem to
square up on his shots

He was sort of fool's gold, to use a favorite expression of Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich. With the 5-3 start before the trip and Gibson
playing so well, the absence of Carlos Boozer didn't seem so acute.

Taj had a great run. His foot has to be acting up, as he's logged almost 28 minutes per game after starting every pre-season game. I'd chalk up the last two shooting performances to Lady Variance -- for the time being -- and not worry about it. He's a good passer with very good court vision for his size and inexperience, so as long as his bad streak of shooting doesn't induce harmful hesitation, I'm good. you should be, too.

His rebounding's been down and that's been my worry with his feet. Though, he's getting 1.7 BPG -- tied with Noah for tops on the team -- he just isn't jumping in those loose ball situations where contact is usually drawn. His Total Rebounding Rate is only 12.9% this season, down from 15.4% from his rookie season.

FWIW, (and it shouldn't be worth much) Taj was a 60% shooter his last year at USC, taking almost nine shots per game.

Advanced Stats via Basketball-Reference and Hoopdata.

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