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Chicago Bulls Youth Movement Must Be Up in the Coming Weeks

Josh Herman@@JoshHermanPJSCorrespondent INovember 7, 2009

When Tyrus Thomas joined the rest of America earlier this week by catching the flu, it looked as if rookie Taj Gibson would be thrown into the fire to prove himself, at least for a couple of games.

Now it seems like the Bulls will be asking much more of the Bulls second pick in the 2009 NBA draft.

Thomas fractured a bone in his arm while lifting weights Friday morning and will miss four to six weeks recovering from subsequent surgery set for Saturday.

This means that while the Bulls have proved they can beat upper-echelon teams, it'll still be tough to rely on so much youth for the next month or so.

Luckily, Gibson's already had a head start.

Gaining consistent playing time over the first five games (with a little help from Ty's bug), Gibson has proved that he can bang with the big guys.

He's averaged 6.4 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes of play so far this season, including 11 points and 7 boards in the Bulls defeat of the Cavaliers Thursday.

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Gibson has shown a knack of getting open.  Whether it's because he's causing mismatches or teams aren't paying much attention to him defensively is still up in the air.

And while his mid-range jumper hasn't been as consistent as many people would like to see, he's shown flashes which should only brighten as his playing time increases.

As for the other rook, James Johnson is looking more like a security pick for the Bulls who may have felt that Gibson might've been taken in the nine picks between the two.

Judging by most draft boards that seems unlikely, but there has to be some reason why John Paxson picked basically the same two players, doesn't there?

And to add fuel to the fire, it seems as if security picks weren't unseen in this year's draft (see Minnesota Timberwolves).  As KG said, "Anything's possible," right?

Anyways, back to Johnson.

The athletic forward looked like a bulkier Tyrus Thomas who had very good upside on the defensive side of the ball, at least on paper. Now it seems as if the Bulls may be handing J.J. the "project" tag.

He's only appeared in one game this season, that against the Celtics.  There he only hit one shot in four tries from the field in only eleven minutes of play.

Will his playing time increase with the absence of Thomas, or will Vinny Del Negro go with a bigger lineup and hand out more minutes to Gibson, Brad Miller, and Joakim Noah?

I guess we'll have to see while Thomas is rehabbing whether the Bulls organization sees J.J. as a "now" guy or a "future" guy.

If anything's for certain, one of the youngest teams in the NBA is getting even younger, at least for the next month or so.

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