Taj Gibson: The NBA's Best Defensive Power Forward?

Sep 20, 2012 | by Bryan Crawford, NBC Chicago

Taj Gibson’s value to the Bulls is almost immeasurable. There aren’t many expectations placed on a guy taken with the 26th overall pick in the NBA Draft. Players picked that low tend to wash out of the league after a few years, or jump from team to team, collecting a check, and not make much of an impact on the court.

But that isn’t the case with Gibson who is entering his fourth season with the Bulls; a season which also happens to be a contract year. Most players seem to play their best when a new, more lucrative deal is on the line, but Gibson has been playing at a high level since arriving in Chicago as a rookie in 2009. And it goes without saying that over the past few years, he's been one of the team’s most consistent, all-around players.

While a solid performer offensively -- given his minutes -- where Gibson really excels is on the defensive end of the floor. That has caused some to speculate whether or not Taj might have a case for being called the best defensive power forward in the game.

If it's your thing, there’s lots of numerical data out there to support this kind of notion. Such high praise seems kind of odd for a reserve player going into his fourth year, especially one with a little more than a season worth of starts under his belt. But even without the numbers, given what your eyes have seen from Gibson on the defensive end compared to what Carlos Boozer brings defensively, if not the NBA, Gibson is definitely the best defensive power forward on the Bulls.

Taj just turned 27 over the summer and his age and maturity will surely help him to another solid campaign for the Bulls this year. It would be a shame if the front office didn’t do everything in their power to keep him around beyond the 2012-13 season. His stock is sure to rise once again and if the Bulls think the Omer Asik deal was bad, wait until they see the offer sheet Taj Gibson gets next summer if they drag their feet on this one.

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