With the security of a four-year $38 million extension, along with new-found leadership responsibilities of the second unit, Taj Gibson struggled most of last season with injuries and trying to justify his worth. With 15pounds of muscle added to his frame and a summer of working on his strength and conditioning, the four-year power forward is looking to “get back to the basics.”
“Just let the game come to me, especially with Derrick (Rose) out there, Kirk Hinrich. Just shoot the ball with confidence, take my normal looks. But just have confidence; be out there with more confidence. We have a goal and whatever it takes, just go out there and play my game.
“It’s a lot easier now,” he said of being a voice for the second unit and his leadership. “We got mostly everybody back. We have Captain Kirk back. He’s on the second unit now and he’s one of the guys I have a lot of chemistry with, especially in these last two days of practice. It’s been great.”
Gibson was unable to participate in the USA Basketball minicamp this summer due to a severely sprained ankle that required a cortisone shot. He headed to Los Angeles to work with Rose and – new Bulls Director of Sports Performance – Jennifer Swanson at Athletes Performance on his strength and conditioning.
“To start the summer, I was about 225 or something like that,” Gibson said. “Thibs came out to California and watched me work out. He was a little bit worried about my weight. He didn’t want me to get kind of fat. He wanted me to be lean, more muscle. . These two days of practice have been fun and great.
“It’s great [being on the floor with Rose]. I’m getting the same good looks I used to get in the past. My corner jump shot has been fantastic these last two days. Just how he’s been finding guys and guys been finding each other, it’s just magnificent. [I’m] having so much fun this last day-and-a-half of training camp, even though I hate two-a-days. It’s been fun.”