One of Derrick Rose’s former teammates is sticking up for him after a week of negative press.
Taj Gibson, who spent seven years with Rose in Chicago, thinks the New York Knicks guard is misunderstood and one of the best guys in the NBA.
“A lot of people misunderstand him because he’s really one of the best, one of the greatest dudes I’ve ever been around,” Gibson said Thursday ahead of Chicago’s meeting with the Knicks, via ESPN. “Off the court, personally. On the court, he’s a great guy. He’s never been negative. He’s never been as you quote, unquote say, a hater. He’s just an awesome dude, man. For real.”
Gibson didn’t expect Rose to disappear, though.
“I was surprised just like anybody else,” Gibson said. “It’s really hard to go missing in the NBA because you got so many people that’s going to check on you from agent, you got [team] staff, general managers, teammates, so it’s really tough, but you never know. Things happen.”
Still, Gibson is an unapologetic Rose supporter, chalking it up to the challenges of his career leading to him just being himself.
“I just feel Derrick has grown into his own,” Gibson said. “He doesn’t really care what people think anymore. Some players tend to go out and just say things … because they know what fans what to hear. He’s coming at you real, telling you how he feels. Because that kid’s been through a lot, hurting both knees, having the whole Chicago on his back from time to time. From heavy games to big games, I’ve been around him for a long time, and I’m proud of him. He’s going to take some critical hits sometimes, but he’s just being himself sometimes.”
Of course, Rose’s abrupt, unexplained absence earlier in the week put him in the news for all the wrong reasons. Gibson has no complaints with Rose, but he’s definitely looking at this incident from an outsider’s perspective.
The former No. 2 overall pick posted the following image of him dunking on the Bulls (with Gibson gazing on helplessly in the background) while simultaneously poking fun at the fact that the Knicks have now defeated Chicago three out of four times this season:
Though the 24-year-old Williams is probably not the best Knick to be retorting (he holds meager averages of just 8.9 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game this year), the man has a point.
The Bulls are now just seven games ahead of the rebuilding Knicks in the Eastern Conference standings as both are currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. If that’s Gibson’s definition of what constitutes a “trash team,” his Bulls probably fall under the same category right now.
The Chicago Bulls are fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With just 11 games remaining, they can’t afford to lose to bad teams. Or, as Taj Gibson referred to them, “trash teams.”
After the New York Knicks swept the Bulls in a home-and-home series Thursday night, Gibson said he has “never been more frustrated and mad before.
“Hell yeah, I’m embarrassed,” he said, via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “I take pride in wearing this jersey. I love wearing the Bulls jersey. Especially what we’ve been through, I take pride in playing for Chicago. When I wear that jersey, I try to go out there and play my heart out. And it’s frustrating when we come up short, and we look at ourselves, we’re losing to … I don’t want to criticize any[body], [but] trash teams. Everybody’s in the NBA for a reason, but we’re playing against teams that are not playing for anything, and we’re just laying down. It feels like now we’re a target. It feels like teams are not taking us serious.
“Tonight, I’ve never been so frustrated and mad before. It was disappointing, man, just real disappointing. I’m just tired of having these same talks with [the media] every night. About how we got to do better. … [Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg’s] right. We got to look ourselves [in the mirror]. I look at myself in the mirror every night, and I try to do different things every night. Still got how many more games left? We’ve got 11 more games left. It’s really do or die, and it’s really frustrating. We got to want it. We got to want it. Sometimes I feel we want it, sometimes I don’t know if we’re kidding ourselves or not.”
The truth is, the Bulls are struggling in their first year under Fred Hoiberg. Even if they make the playoffs, they’d likely get dominated against the Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors in the first round.
The Chicago Bulls are in both internal turmoil and desperate need of help on the wing. Franchise player Jimmy Butler has been disillusioned with his lack of support for a while now, and the team simply has not found a viable swingman running mate to play next to him. Mike Dunleavy is aging and currently injured, Doug McDermott is still developing and can’t stay in front of anyone on defense, Tony Snell has crashed into the third-year wall in catastrophic fashion, and Nikola Mirotic has not the speed, the handle, nor, lately, the shooting to log meaningful minutes at the 3. As such, desperate times may be calling for desperate measures.
According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports on the latest edition of his “The Vertical Podcast with Woj” Wednesday, the Bulls may be considering a trade of Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson in an attempt to acquire wing depth.
“Executives around the league, and people have told me, that the Bulls are very determined to add a talented wing player,” said Wojnarowksi per Blog a Bull. “I’ve been told that the Bulls are open to…whether it’s Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson…maybe not both of them, but either of them if there’s a deal out there that they can bring in the best possible wing player available, they’re open to it…They need more shooting.”
The Bulls have an excess of capable bodies in the frontcourt so it makes sense that they may be looking to correct their roster imbalance by shipping one of their bigs out to fill their need of a wing.
But Noah’s value couldn’t be lower right now. He’s on the wrong side of 30, is in clear decline, and just suffered a shoulder sprain that will keep him out of action for at least two weeks. But Noah is still a defining piece of the Bulls’ backbone and probably has more worth to them than to any other NBA team (not to mention that he has played his entire nine-year career so far in Chicago).
Gibson, meanwhile, is an interesting case. He’s a rim protector and interior defender that doesn’t kill you on the offensive end and can toggle between both big man positions. It may not yet be certain what the trade market for a player like Gibson will be in a league totally dominated by small-ball.
At the moment, these whispers might not be more than just that. But what’s clear is that the 15-11 Bulls, currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, aren’t currently performing to their talent level and may need a slight roster shakeup at some point before February’s trade deadline to get back on track. Whether Noah or Gibson becomes an unfortunate casualty of that reality remains to be seen.
Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson was understandably upset after he was ejected from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night. He wasn’t just angry with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, however.
Gibson also took aim at the fans. When he was on his way to the locker room after being called for a flagrant-2 foul, Gibson had a towel thrown his way. He wasn’t happy.
You can’t really blame Gibson for being aggravated. For starters, he was ejected for trying to kick his leg free after Dellavedova put him in a leg lock that the officials completely missed. That resulted in two free throws for Dellavedova, and he made both. The Cavs also kept the ball and converted a layup, which gave them an 87-73 lead with about 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Having something thrown at you after that is just the icing on the cake.
Taj Gibson got the short end of the stick on Tuesday when he was ejected from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Bulls and Cavs.
Early in the fourth quarter, Gibson crashed the boards after teammate Aaron Brooks attempted and made a layup. Gibson got tangled with Matthew Dellavedova, and the two went to the ground. When Gibson tried to get up, he couldn’t because Dellavedova had him in a leg lock.
Gibson kicked to free his leg, which is something the referees saw as an aggressive act. They called him for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected him from the game.
Not only the Bulls lose Gibson early in the fourth quarter, but Dellavedova got two free throws which he made, and the Cavs received the ball and made a layup. All in all, Dellavedova’s clever trick and the poor call by officials cost the Bulls a player and four points.
Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah were ejected from Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night after arguing calls.
Gibson seemed to be upset about two calls in a row in the fourth quarter, including what appeared to be a goaltend by Chris Andersen on the previous possession. The refs probably weren’t as concerned with small calls since the Bulls were down by 35 points at the time.
After the missed goaltending call, Ray Allen drove, made a layup, and a foul was called on Marquis Teague, who barely touched him. Noah was on the bench at the time of the foul and began arguing it. He came off the bench to protest and was assessed his second technical foul (he received a tech in the first quarter for his skirmish with LeBron James). He was automatically ejected for receiving a second tech.
Then, Gibson began yapping during Allen’s technical free throw. He was assessed a technical foul, then swore at referee Scott Foster to get his second technical, leading to his ejection. He was fuming.
Here’s a shot of Noah coming off the bench to argue the call:
The Chicago Bulls will need energizing performances from their bench throughout the playoffs if they plan to make a deep run. In particular, guys like Taj Gibson need to step up with Joakim Noah battling through a painful case of plantar fasciitis in his foot. Gibson made a big contribution on Thursday night.
He may have only scored four points in Chicago’s 79-76 Game 3 win over the Brookltn Nets, but two of them were game-changers. During what turned out to be a 9-1 run that led to a 12-point lead for the Bulls in the second quarter, Gibson dunked all over Kris Humphries. The United Center went insane.
The Bulls took a 2-1 series lead over the Nets with the win, which is exactly where they want to be after three games. They did their job in splitting the first two games in Brooklyn, and now Chicago will look to take a commanding 3-1 lead on Saturday. If role players like Gibson and Nate Robinson step up, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to take the series.
Taj Gibson signed a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, beating the deadline for 2009 draft picks to sign long-term deals with their current team. His new contract is for four years and $38 million, which averages to $9.5 million per season. Gibson was pretty ecstatic to sign the new deal. He sent the following tweet:
Truly blessed, went from sleeping in the floor in south central and now this!!! Tears of joy!!!! GOD is GOOD
It’s pretty impossible not to be happy for the guy after reading something like that. Gibson was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year at USC in 2009 — the same year he was drafted — and he left as the career blocks leader for the Trojans. Even though he only averages around 20 or so minutes per game with the Bulls, he’s still an effective defender and rebounder, and can even score some.
Congratulations to Gibson on the big contract. He’s a good player and certainly deserves it.
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for cussing at a fan and directing a gay slur towards him (see the video here). It’s never acceptable to use the language Noah did, he knows that, and that’s why he apologized. But just because Noah’s getting criticized for the incident doesn’t mean he’s the only one who deserves blame in the situation. The fan also should take some responsibility for being out of line.
Forward Taj Gibsontold CBS Sports’ Ken Berger that a drunk fan was verbally abusing Noah prior to the slur. “The guy just kept going. I know the crowd looked at the guy too, like, ‘Come on man, leave him alone. It’s over.’ But the guy just kept going. … It was the usual, but in that circumstances, it was heavy because he was really loud. And he was a big guy, too. He was intoxicated. When I saw him, I was surprised, because he just kept going and going. Normally a fan may say a couple of things and then sit down. But he just kept going and going, and it was Joakim the whole time.”
Having thick skin is part of playing professional sports, but to assume athletes are able to ignore fan taunts and heckling is foolish. We’ve seen Milton Bradley go after fans, and we even heard LeBron respond to one in Detroit. They hear it, and sometimes it’s tough not to react. I’m not excusing Noah, but the fan needs some blame too. Purchasing a ticket (even if it’s for thousands of dollars), does not entitle one to become a drunken jerk at a game. Fans should be held responsible for their actions too and getting hammered and cussing out players is unacceptable, especially with children around.
Additionally, the $50,000 fine is reasonable because it helps send the message that that sort of language is unacceptable. The problem is the NBA is only reactionary with this issue, not proactive. They only respond if the media applies pressure to them. If this video or the Kobe video doesn’t get shown on TV or on several websites, they wouldn’t do anything. Do they fine players for yelling f-bombs, or the n-word which is equally offensive? Of course not. They’re just reacting to public pressure and want to make sure people know they’re doing what’s politically correct. If they really cared about getting rid of the language, they’d fine players in low-profile situations, not just when Kobe or Noah say it during highly-watched games.