The Chicago Bulls are struggling. There is no doubt about that.
I do not believe it has anything to do with Tyrus Thomas being out. I really don't think he makes the Bulls that much better. I'm not saying that he wouldn't help, but I just don't think it's hurting the Bulls as much to have him out.
What I do like about Thomas being out is that it is allowing Taj Gibson to get more playing time. I think he can develop into a great piece for the Bulls rotation and will provide the Bulls executives with enough to feel safe trading away Thomas.
Both Gibson and Thomas have the same skillsets. They are both long, lanky, undersized power forwards. Neither are a tremendous asset on the offensive end, but I believe the ceiling is higher for Gibson than it is for Thomas.
We have seen all we can get out of Thomas. He has shown that he can turn it on at any point, but just doesn't have it in him to turn it on every night. I'm not saying that Gibson does, but I think Gibson understands that he doesn't have the ability to take over offensively, so he plays within the team offense and earns his points, rather than trying to create them. This is something that will help the Bulls offense. What Thomas does on some nights is hurt the offense by struggling through a horrible shooting night.
Another way that Gibson helps more than Thomas is his defensive ability. Gibson is a much better on-the-ball defender than Thomas is. Thomas may get more elevation and may have more "sexy" blocks than Gibson, but both have the ability to block shots and gather rebounds in traffic.
I have liked what I have seen out of Gibson so far. I think that with more time in the starting lineup he will gel more with the rest of the starters and make the Bulls a better team. I'm not saying he will make them a winning team, but he will definitely make them better.
He shoots better than 50 percent from the field, which is saying something for a Chicago Bulls player.
He is averaging eight points and five rebounds per game in just under 24 minutes. Over a full game, that would average out to 16 points and 10 rebounds, about the numbers we could expect out of Thomas. The main difference is that Tyrus scores those points less efficiently.
I am excited about the beginning of the Taj Gibson era in Chicago. I still do not think he is the right man for the low-post positions, but he is what we have right now, so we have to do the best we can with it.
I posted an interview he did on my Web site. Check it out. He seems like a good guy who's mentally grounded. http://chicagosportsinterviews.com/