Despite being without star point guard Derrick Rose for most (if not all) of next season, Bulls forward Taj Gibson believes Chicago will remain competitive.
Rose missed a large portion of the 2011-12 regular season and the Bulls managed an 18-9 record in his absence. Rose was injured in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers when he tore his left ACL. Rose had surgery on May 12 with the recovery period expected to be between eight and 12 monthsw.
“We still did good even when we didn’t have Derrick (last season),” Gibson told ESPNChicago.com. “We beat the Heat without Derrick.
“Our mindset hasn’t changed. It’s about staying focused and taking one game at a time. We understand it’s going to be up and down at the beginning of the season. We can’t look forward to the end. We got to look forward to one game at a time and playing to our strengths and just listening to coach (Tom Thibodeau). I know it’s going to be a long season, but I’m really optimistic about what’s going to happen.”
Gibson, who is entering his fourth season with the Bulls, said he expects to play a larger role with the team this season.
“Thibs already told me he wants my role to change, be more of a leader now,” Gibson said. “I worked out with him a lot during the summer. I worked out with him before the (Team) USA camp. He just wanted me to work out this whole year, build confidence and get better. He thinks I can do a lot more on and off the court. I’m ready to take that next step.”
Gibson averaged 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.