A superstar power forward will play an average of forty minutes per game during the regular season, forty-four minutes a game during the playoffs, and forty-eight minutes under coach Thibs. Forty-eight minutes is exactly what Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson give the Bulls every night.
In no world is Carlos Boozer a superstar. His jumper seems to miss in big games and big spots, he plays under the rim, plays no defense, and yells for no reason. Taj Gibson is also not a superstar. He is a bench player, a role player, a high energy guy off the bench. In this Taj- Boozer combination, the Bulls have two players that understand what their team needs from them and have accepted their roles within the team.
Boozer might be having his best season as a Bull. He has become a scoring and rebounding machine; the player the Bulls thought they were getting when they gave him big money. It just seems that Boozer plays better when he is the number one scoring option. In Utah, Boozer knew that a steady pick and roll was going to be part of the game plan. No matter how many shots he missed, he would always get one more because the team needed him to score. Playing along a shoot first superstar like Derrick Rose, Boozer was no longer the focus of the offensive game plan. Boozer is not a spot up jumper. He needs to touch the ball every time down the floor, evident by the fact that he has to hug the ball after every free throw (this can be very annoying).
Taj Gibson is an absolute freak! He can jump, rebound, and play defense versus quick small forwards, power forwards, and centers. He hustles on every play, and is the anchor to the famous Bench Mob. Is he a starting power forward on a championship team? No he isn’t. What he is though, is a player who can change a game or a series with one put back dunk, one block, or a hustle play. He is the closer at the power forward position for Thibs.
To Boozer’s credit, he has never complained about being benched in the 4th quarter so that Gibson can close it out. Gibson is one of the reasons why the Bulls scare the Heat in the playoffs. Most Bull fans cannot wait to amnesty Boozer and bring in a superstar (maybe Kevin Love). Some even think that starting Gibson is the answer. Both are possibilities, but if they want to contend this year, they must find a way to incorporate Rose and Boozer in the offense. Too bad for the Bulls, out-hustling teams with or without Rose will not be enough to win the 2013 NBA Finals. They will need Boozer to keep up his current play and Gibson to bring energy off the bench to have any hope to upset the Heat.
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