Bulls forward Taj Gibson initially struggled to deal with the pressure that came with his new contract extension, but is starting to get back to his old form after talking with head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Bulls forward Taj Gibson received a four year, $39 million contract extension right as the season began, and not unlike many athletes who receive big contracts, he initially struggled trying to do too much and justify getting all that money. However, head coach Tom Thibodeau has worked with Gibson to get him back to doing what got him here in the first place, according to ESPNChicago's Nick Friedell:
"I remember one day he called me, he pulled me to the side and said, 'Don't worry about it, you're pressing,'" Gibson said. "Just play your game, have fun, you're doing a great job on defense and doing good leading our defense. Just stay with the fundamentals, just have fun, and that's what I'm trying to do.
In his fourth year in the NBA out of USC, Gibson has never averaged in double figures for points. However, statistics don't tell the entire story of Gibson's game. Over his last six games, Gibson has shot 17-for-35 from the floor, on top of playing his usual lockdown defense. He's struggled to adjust to playing without Omer Asik, who left the Bulls for the Houston Rockets over the offseason as a free agent. However, if we've learned anything about Gibson so far in his career, it's that he will continue to work and practice hard even when things aren't going well:
"I put (a) countless number of hours in the gym," Gibson continued. "And like Kyle Korver told me last year, 'Sometimes it doesn't go in, it doesn't bounce your way. You just have to stay with your repetitions and keep going and stay the course.' I remember I had games where it was highs and lows and I just wanted to continue to get better and be ready for late in the season and just keep pushing."