Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson signed a four-year, $38 million contract extension earlier in the season, but the early returns have not been great. The 27-year-old is posting career-lows in points and rebounds per game, but he's trying to stay positive.
The Chicago Bulls aren't quite getting what they paid for with Taj Gibson. The four-year, $38 million contract extension agreed to by both parties at the beginning of the season marked the continuation of a long-term relationship, but Gibson has posted career-lows in points (6.7) and rebounds (4.7) per game through the first 13 games of the 2012-13 NBA season.
His field goal percentage, effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage have all also hit rock bottom. According to Hoop Data, he's taking less shots at the rim than ever before and his shooting percentage from mid-range has dropped to 26.0 percent. It's been a rough start to the season, but Gibson is trying to stay positive (via ESPN Chicago):
"Being in the NBA, especially in Chicago, you're going to get a lot of criticism. You have to just put that in the back of your mind, go out and play, and that's what we did tonight. Just went out there and forgot about that last loss, pushed forward against another tough team. And (we're) just looking forward to the next game because I know it's a long season, we have to take care of these next couple games, take care of home-court advantage when we can. It's a long season, (there's) a lot of bumps in the road and we're patient. We understand that we're just worried about getting to the next win."
It's not time to panic, as Gibson is clearly a better player than his early numbers indicate, but it might be appropriate to wonder whether Omer Asik was the true leader of the Bench Mob. Asik is currently averaging 10.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game with the Houston Rockets, both of which are career highs.