And the starting power forward is…

…Tyrus Thomas or rookie Taj Gibson? Nobody knows yet, except possibly Vinny Del Negro. But the coach isn’t talking. However, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Gibson played with the first unit during yesterday’s practice. Tyrus was asked about the situation afterward, but he “politely declined to discuss the situation, smiling as he waved off a question.”

I suppose this whole “will he or won’t he start” situation could be a motivational ploy by Vinny. But, based on everything I’ve seen from Tyrus over the past few seasons, I don’t believe that kind of gimmick is going to work with him. In fact, I could see it backfiring. No offense to Gibson — who has looked good and played with a lot of heart during the preseason — but I again contend that the Bulls need to start Thomas.

It’s “Put Up or Shut Up” time for Tyrus (who’s in a contract year) and the Bulls (who are going to have some tough decisions to make next summer). Why take the chance of watching Thomas regress while coming off the bench when the time is now to see what this kid is all about?

It’s also possible that Vinny is sending a message that starting spots are earned by hard work and solid play. And, generally speaking, that’s a good message to send. But every situation is different, and I’d hate to see this situation sow seeds of discord before the season even begins.

On the bright side, Derrick Rose has officially returned to practice.


21 Responses to And the starting power forward is…

    Rocky October 23, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    This is going to be garbage. Tyrus got the short end of the stick his first two years. He finally gets minutes last year and although inconsistent he made huge leaps from his first two years. You don’t draft a kid that high with that much athletic ability to relegate him to the bench. Tyrus can be a difference maker on both ends of the court. I like Taj but there is no way you toy around with this situation. Taj is a rookie. He’s slow and not as athletic as tyrus. On switches Tyrus has the speed and athleticism to gaurd any position on the court. He’s way more versatile. His jumper is improving and he’s being more aggressive. The first game he comes back in preseason he puts up ridiculous numbers off the bench, but he understood he was coming off the bench because he was coming off of injury. I don’t care how good a rookie plays in preseason…thats another slap in the face. You play ben wallace big minutes that took away from this kids on court development even though wallace didn’t produce. You trade for Drew Gooden, who was erratic at best and stole minutes from both Noah and Tyrus. Its time to let the dog off the leash and see what he can do with real starting forward minutes and stop jerking him around.

    Juan October 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    I agree with you Rocky!!!

    RPK October 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    Tyrus is soooo gone.

    Mark October 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    It would be completely ridiculous if Gibson starts.

    Brandon October 23, 2009 at 8:22 pm #

    What Vinny is doing is what is right, make them work hard for that starting spot on the lineup cause if you hand it to Tyrus what is he going to learn from it…?
    Secondly Mr. Rocky Speed and Athleticism is for Track and Field, it may help in basketball but the game takes skill and that is what Taj Gibson has. Great on Defense and has a knack at getting the ball is right places.
    Thridly Mr Mark why is it ridiculous? Gibson is Healthy for one and he knows what his role is! Tyrus still doesn’t know and he even said that in the paper in an interview that he is still trying to figure out his position and role. Is it that hard to say REBOUND/BLOCK SHOTS/DUNK BALL/DON’T SHOOT THE BALL FROM 15+ FT. that sounds simple if i can list it out, like many before me have
    and RPK i agree he is gone he was a bust that people don’t know yet, and is going to continue until Tyrus learns the game of Basketball.
    Taj and Johnson are the future forwards for the bulls, its almost that simple.

    Joe October 23, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    Only reason Taj should start is if Tyrus is hurt or gets traded. And even then I would probably rather see a frontcourt of Miller and Noah. This has ‘disaster’ written all over it and considering how inept Vinny is, I pretty much expect Tyrus to be coming off the bench to start the season.

    chase October 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    this is such a stupid conversation. he only didnt start cause he was still comin off his injury. of course tyrus is starting for the regular season, who is starting these stupid rumors??

  8. Anonymous October 24, 2009 at 4:18 am #

    I almost can’t beleive I am typing this, but…

    I have to agree that Tyrus should start. Not because he has earned it, mind you, but because he needs it, and it is the only way the Bulls can salvage the relationship.

    For those of you who know me, I hope that it is clear that I HATE dumb basketball. It is why I have railled against Tyrus and was happy to see Gordon go. (BTW, I watched his Piston game tonight: Possitively infuriating to see poor shot after poor shot go in. Makes for great highlights, but doesn’t win championships! The Bucks almost won, and they have very little talent on that team.) However, coaching is not always about moral victories. This is the year for Tyrus to produce or shut up. The Bulls have more time with Taj, but they need to either get Tyrus going, or raise his market value in order to trade him. Both of these goals are accomplished by starting and playing him long minutes. Win or lose, that is what must be done.

  9. Josh Reed October 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm #

    Agreed, ROCKY!!!! 100%! The Bulls have a way of misusing their players that is just terrible! Let the kid play, he has NOT peaked just yet…DO NOT MESS WITH THE FLOW!!!

    Deon W. October 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    I am afraid that management views Gibson as a clone of Thomas(w/o the hops). They may be thinking: “Why set ourselves up to pay Thomas when we can have Gibson more cheaply. This is going to be trouble if Thomas does not start. I agree with the post that said Thomas’ development was hindered by Wallace and Gooden. Tyrus has talent and is getting better. I think he is transforming from a pure athlete to a basketball player. The team needs to let that process continue.

    Pharaoh October 24, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    So once again, in last nights game Tyrus played with poise, adjusted well to extended minutes at the 3, was active, attacked the rim and rebounded the ball. This is money time for him and he knows it.

    I agree with earlier posters that his development with the Bulls has been screwed by a number of reasons: coaching issues, no true big man mentor on the team, the bulls’ overall lack of size since he’s been here, etc.

    But now, there is a lot of upside to this equation:
    1. Contract time – He’s gonna bring the intensity every night because he got dollar signs in his eyes

    2. Brad Miller brings something to the table that you just can’t say enough about – good passer, knows how to play on the block, stretches the d’ and clears the lane with his ability to shoot, – having him on the court day in and out for a complete season will do worlds for Tyrus’ game this year. We say what his presence did in a half season last year.

    3. This is only year#2 for him playing with a legit, stud point guard. No offense Hinrich but since Tyrus been in the league he never has had that luxary.

    4. Year #2 with VDN – I like Vinny’s approach and I think he gets it. Make them earn it, reward them when deserved (extra minutes – pad them stats for money year), and while he was much maligned last year for some miscalculations, Vinny has improved as a coach. You can tell his approach is registering with the team already. Our defensive sets and rotations are way ahead of last years curve. And as a understudy of George Karl’s, I’m sure Vinny got some wrinkles in the playbook this year for Tyrus and Rose combination to begin to blossom, ala’ Gary Payton to Shawn Kemp, ala’ Sam Cassell to Glen “Big Dog” Robinson.

    I’m optimistic for a good season with nice numbers from Thomas, as I’ve stated before on this panel.

    rut October 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    If a player is only stepping it up during a contract year, that is not a player you should sign for a long-term, big money contract.

    I dont like how Thomas acts, his basketball IQ is low, and he only plays when he wants to get paid.

    As far as I’m concerned, Gibson can start over Thomas and some other team can sign Thomas to huge money because he is athletic and get stuck with him for years to come.

    andres Lopez October 25, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    I agree with your comment rut, but hopefully Tyrus Thomas does have an explosive year this season, so his value goes up and we can trade him for Chris Bosh or David Lee because if he doesn’t put up explosive numbers then other teams won’t be interested in him. Then the Bulls are set with strong power forwards that WORK HARD! for their money every year lol with Bosh or Lee at the starting position and Gibson as a backup.

  14. Mike G October 26, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    For this team and this season, Tyrus needs to start. Although it is debatable based on last years production to anoint Tyrus the starer- especially the way Gibson has been producing- he will not respond well to coming off the bench. My honest gut instinct is Tyrus will not have a successful first half, and be shopped by management in the second half. I hope I am wrong and I hope Tyrus produces. But regardless of who starts, I think all perceptive Bulls fans know that Taj Gibson is relentless, and right on Tyrus’s heels.

  15. granville waiters October 26, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    taj is all over tyrus. i’m a tyrus supporter, and he produces when given high minutes cuz it helps him know his role when he doesn’t have to worry about being yanked out the game. BUT taj has basketball skills… Here’s what’s gonna happen. TT will have an up and down year, and we’ll be able to sign him for small to medium money. I’ll take TT for years if we can get him on a cheap contract.

    felipe garcia October 26, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Yah I agree with you granville but, the problem with that is knowing Tyrus Thomas he wants big money. So he probably won’t sign with us unless he cant find some other team that want him and gives him the money he is seeking for. Trust me, even if he doesn’t but up explosive big numbers, he still want a lot of money and that is why I am also hoping he puts up big numbers so we can trade him for Bosh or Lee during the deadline.

    mike killer October 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    I totally agree with your comment Garcia, knowing Tyrus Thomas he will only work really hard this season for his contract and then after he gets his big money from the Bulls, if they agree to sign him again. (which I hope not!) He is going to start putting up disappointing numbers for years to come. That is why the Bulls need him to work really hard, so his value goes up and then they can trade him for: Bosh, Lee or get LaMarcus Aldridge back from the Blazers lol. At least I know for sure these type of players will work hard every year for their money like they have shown us in the past, unlike Tyrus Thomas who is starting to work really hard this season just because of his contract money!

    andres Lopez October 26, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    I know right, isn’t that mess up. I still can’t understand why Tyrus Thomas, did not work hard in improving his game as a rookie, sophomore and last season and all of a sudden he decides to work really hard his season just because he knows his contract is up and he wants big money. Bulls GM, please trade his guy during the deadline and lets get: BOSH, LEE OR LaMarcus Aldridge back for Tyrus Thomas lol.

    inkybreath October 27, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    I am a fan of Thomas, though the meter is running fast on him. Sure, he has had the aforementioned setbacks, but the last judgment on someone is what they do with their circumstances. It’s no big thing, a lot of people have trouble applying themselves … going over the top. To me, he is a slow burner, and will probably be really good in three years or more. The league has to wear him down over time. It’s just that the Bulls cannot wait that long.

    CHESS83 October 27, 2009 at 3:48 am #

    The true problem is not tyrus, its the coach….its the organization. just because thomas is big doesnt make him a big in the NBA. thomas seems much more comfortable on the wing at the 3(sf for the unknowing). deng shoots worse than thomas and does less. instead of benching thomas, im for benching deng. i would rather start pg-rose,sg-salmons,sf-thomas,pf-gibson,c-noah. it gives us speed, youth, athleticism, and speed. there is no difference when it comes to dengs broke shots than thomas jumper. atleast thomas can finish at the rim and would create more havoc defensively for us and it would be hard for other teams to stop him. the question is not gibson over thomas, its thomas over deng?

  21. PTFC October 27, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    Good point Chess83. I think if Deng cannot get the rust off eventually, that will probably be the starting line up. Vinny can then sub in Deng for Salmons to go “big” (as big as the Bulls can be) or sub in Henrich for Salmons and Deng for Thomas if we want to go small, all depending upon who we play.

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