The New York Knicks brought in veteran big man Taj Gibson this off-season. When he was signed, some fans had to be scratching their heads. What can this 34-year old center bring to this young Knicks roster?
Gibson is bruiser. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty and bang down-low for rebounds. Gibson is going to bring aspects of what they wanted to see out of Joakim Noah. Except, Gibson has a jumper and can knock down threes, like he did in the preseason opener Monday.
The Knicks were hoping that Noah was going to bring the hard-nosed, fiery attitude and play that he had during his time in Chicago. But, due to injury and suspension, Noah was not able to even give the Knicks a tiny morsel of what he used to be. The New York Knicks gave Noah $72 million to wear street clothes. Thanks Phil.
However, Gibson could bring some of that grittiness him and Noah had in Chicago to the Knicks. Gibson also comes at a much cheaper cost, as compared to Noah, so any positives that come from this is a win for the franchise. He will be making 10 million for two years.
Hypothetically, if Noah was not injured or suspended, he might have been able to contribute. He would have been the mentor to Mitchell Robinson when they drafted him. That is not the case. Now, one of Gibson’s goal is to do just that. Be a mentor to Mitchell Robinson.
Last season, we saw DeAndre Jordan take Robinson under his wing for the short time he was with the Knicks. Now, it is Gibson’s time.
Gibson has been a very good defender throughout his career. He has averaged 6.4 rebounds per, while adding 9.8 points, shooting 51.2% from the field. But, stats aren’t everything. He knows how to defend off the ball, set good hard screens and box out.
Gibson can also help Robinson with foul trouble. If he can teach him to not be as aggressive and contain his body when contesting shots and moving his feet. Early dumb fouls have been Robinson’s kryptonite, so learning to limit the fouls is key for his development.
That was everything the Knicks wanted in Noah. Bring back some of the toughness from the 90s Knicks on the defensive side. Be the leader defense. Not many are expecting Gibson to play 30+ minutes, but his knowledge will be key to the Knicks defensive scheme this season. Gibson will try to fill that void, for Robinson, while providing valuable veteran leadership.