Taj Gibson: 6-9, 214, PF., Jr. (University of Southern California)
Draft rank: #30
PF rank: #7
Gibson can do a lot of the little things you look for in a role player. He likes to initiate contact down low when establishing his position and he squares up to the hoop and shoots a mid-range jumper in rhythm. He's deceptively athletic when attacking the glass to rebound and is a great offensive rebounder who understands how to beat his man to a spot. He has a freakishly long winspan and legit size to play the 4, which makes him a serious shot blocker and active help defender. He also has quick feet and isn't afraid of contact.
Offensively he makes a high percentage of his shots thanks to his keen selection process. He makes crisp passes out of the post and double team. A runner who does a good job of making himself a target around the hoop by constantly having his hand up or showing both hands to signify he wants the ball. With his length and athleticism he can really take off from 2 feet in the paint and he likes to dunk the ball with both hands.
While he has quick feet, he often becomes robotic with his back to the basket and often gets his shot blocked because of his lack of creativity in the post. Turns the ball over too much. Often becomes clumsy when turning towards the basket in the paint. Needs to get stronger if he wants to bang down low with the bigs in the NBA. Often gets tossed off his post by bigger and stronger players. Often loses the ball and fumbles it when he faces physicality. Often walks when he is trying to attack the basket from the post. Gets into foul trouble. Really gets into trouble when he doesn’t go quick in the post. Struggles when he is forced to put the ball on the floor and make a move toward the rim. Doesn’t have three point range.
Gibson brings emotion you love to see from a big man. He works hard and is constantly trying to make his teammates raise their games. Big men don't often show emotion and I worry about those players because you constantly must have an edge and an intimidation factor over your opponent. While physically not imposing, he has a tough mentality that will be very valuable for him at the next level.
-- Is already 24 years old
-- Led the Pac 10 in blocked shots
Comparison: Darrell Arthur, 6-8, 216, PF
Conclusion:One of the big concerns is Gibson's strength and how he will be able to do in the post against NBA bigs. At 24 I am not sure how much stronger Gibson will get, but his abnormal wing span and length do make up for some of his lack of strength. Gibson measured in as the second longest player in the draft with a 7 foot, 4 inch wingspan. It partially explains his shot blocking numbers as well as his ability to rebound on the offensive glass.
Gibson is the type of power forward who really is suited to coming off the bench. That will negate the foul trouble issue and his lack of strength won't be exposed as he goes against other team's second units. As a backup, Gibson will do what he does best: go after boards and block shots.
As for comparisons he reminds me of Darrell Arthur. I usually try to give a more proven NBA player in my comparison pieces, but Arthur was the guy who kept popping into my head as I watched film on Gibson. Only time will tell how good Arthur becomes, but we should be able to get a good read on Gibson as early as next year.
Look for Gibson to contribute with interior scoring, rebounding and shot blocking, which are ideal for backup big men. Gibson's length will definitely be useful to many teams and I think his age and maturity will help him compete for minutes right away.