Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls

Things are looking bright with the Chicago Bulls. Fresh off yesterday’s 95-88 OT win versus the Miami Heat at the UC, drugstore the Bulls are once again, seek proving doubters wrong and showing incredible consistency on both sides of the ball.  Former HAM of the Week Joakim Noah and D.J. Augustin have both posted multiple 100-point games in the past week and a half. Add another player to make this a powerhouse trifecta: Taj Gibson, our HAM of the Week.

He’s not always on the starting lineup, but he should be. And here’s proof:

The 6’9”, 225 lbs Brooklyn, New York native moved to California in 2004 to attend basketball prep school. Gibson played basketball at the University of Southern California for three seasons, helping the Trojans win the Pac-10 tournament championships in 2009.

Taj Gibson, http://www.sbnation.com

Taj Gibson, http://www.sbnation.com

The Bulls selected Gibson in the 2009 NBA draft. During his rookie season, the 28-year-old made the NBA All-Rookie First Team, averaging nine points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Now in his fifth season, Gibson is averaging a career-high 74.3% free throw percentage, 1.2 assists, 29.1 minutes and 13.5 points per game.

The team has managed to win more games against their biggest rival without former HAM of the Week Derrick Rose, and has been consistent during the second half of the season. A lot of that is thanks to Noah’s stellar play, but Gibson’s moves also deserve recognition.

Bleacher Report calls this season “his breakout year”, becoming a budding star in the NBA and should be considered one of the top two-way forwards. Gibson rises to the occasion defensively, and he is able to cover his opponents with a wide range of skills while allotting for a lower field-goal percentage. Gibson has also emerged as a red-hot offensive player—he leads the team in total points this season with 836.

With all of this in mind, Gibson should be a sure-fire candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award (and possibly for this year’s All-Defense team). He’s delivered in every game as a top player on the double team since the Bulls traded former HAM of the Week Luol Deng, scoring in double figures in 22 of his last 24 games.

Off the court, Gibson has already won our hearts. He recently revealed to the Chicago Tribune that his favorite “chick flick” is “Sex and the City” and he’s a wine aficionado. In an interview with the ladies of A Drink With, he credits MJ for having the biggest inspiration on him (he was the best Bull, after all), and Taj’s natural energy brings a sense of humor to a seriously focused team.  And if you love the “Real Housewives” series, Taj is your guy—he’s not shy about sharing his love for the drama series.

The dynamic duo of Noah and Gibson may give us Bulls fans some hope for a possible playoff picture as well, especially with a weak Eastern Conference. And with Boozer’s contract up, we’re thinking Thibs may need to do some reevaluation of the team’s starting lineup…

Follow Taj Gibson on Twitter at @TajGibson22 and Instagram at @tajgibson22.

 

About the author: Hannah Gettleman is a native of the Northern Chicago suburbs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012 and attended every home Illini football game. Her love of Chicago sports comes from her dad, who has been in the same Fantasy Football league since she was six years old, and her mom, who plays in a 5-0 football pool. She’s also won the family March Madness pool four times in a row. An avid Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs fan, she’s excited to share her love of sports and cute guys as the newest HAM Hunter. When she’s not glued to the television on Sundays, Hannah follows the latest in entertainment and red carpet fashion, and makes delicious Betty Crocker brownies. You can follow her at @hgettle12.

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