PF | 6’9, 225 lbs
2016-17 season (with Bulls and Thunder): 71 games, 71 starts, 10.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.8 BPG, 51.5 FG%, 71.5 FT%
The Minnesota Timberwolves knew going into the offseason that they needed to improve on the defensive end and the signing of forward Taj Gibson greatly helps with that.
Gibson’s spent the last eight seasons with the Chicago Bulls before being traded after 55 games with the team in 2016-17 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2003-04, Gibson’s addition is welcomed considering he’s made the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons in the NBA.
Gibson isn’t a guy who is going to consistently put up 20 points, but he’s a player who can hit double digits in scoring, but his true value comes defensively, and a lot of that was molded when he was coached by Tom Thibodeau in Chicago from 2010-2015.
The two are back together in Minnesota, hoping to build off what they accomplished in Chicago, including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Top Three Games Of The Season
3.) Jan. 4 at Cleveland Cavaliers
In this 106-94 road win over the Cavaliers as a member of the Bulls, Gibson finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. He shot a nearly perfect 9-for-10 from the field in 33 minutes and 31 seconds of play.
2.) Feb. 3 at Houston Rockets
On the road, Gibson finished with 20 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. He shot 9-for-13 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free-throw line.
1.) Dec. 2 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
In this 111-105 home win over the Cavaliers, Gibson finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and a steal in nearly 40 minutes. He shot 10-for-13 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line.
Top Offseason Objectives
The biggest goal for Gibson will be to simply get acquainted with his new teammates. He already has relationships with Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler, which should be a huge help. It’s important for Gibson to get to know Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng, two players he’ll be playing alongside during the 2017-18 season. Gibson can teach both of those players a lot on the defensive end.
Role for 2017-18?
Gibson will either start alongside Towns or be Minnesota’s first big off the bench. Either way, his role doesn’t really change. He’ll be Minnesota’s defensive enforcer among the bigs, while Butler will do so on the perimeter. Gibson has played at least 25 minutes per game over the last four seasons and I wouldn’t expect that to change in 2017-18. He’ll be counted on for some points, somewhere between 8-12, and rebounds, somewhere between 6-8, but Gibson’s true value comes defensively.
They Said It…
“With Taj, we think he’s the elite defender in the league in terms of big guys. He can guard all five positions. He has the ability to switch . . . He can star in any role you give him,” – Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau after signing Gibson.