Taj Gibson is a veteran presence the New York Knicks need

Taj Gibson, New York Knicks (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images for the NBPA)
Taj Gibson, New York Knicks (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images for the NBPA) /

The New York Knicks are excited with their young ad hungry players acquired during the offseason, but feel the same about their new veteran Taj Gibson.

New York Knicks‘ newly acquired player Taj Gibson made a name for himself while as a member of the Chicago Bulls for eight NBA seasons. The power forward’s style of physical play was cultivated from his childhood growing up in Brooklyn, New York.

The homecoming announcement for Gibson wasn’t initially well received by fans who were expecting the names of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as new free-agent signings. As Gibson’s fan welcome seemed lackluster, it was the front office led by team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry that saw the value in his signing. Head coach David Fizdale hasn’t been shy to say he prefers tough players that can withstand the brutal nature of an 82-game NBA season.

Gibson fits the description and contributes to the veteran mindset needed on a young developing roster. The 11-year professional has played vital roles whether off the bench or in the starting lineup averaging just under 10 points (9.8) and 6.4 rebounds per game. He played on some exceptional Bulls teams during their playoff streak a stop with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the last two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On a team featuring young players, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and highly touted lottery pick RJ Barrett in unforgiving New York City the former Bull will be a leader. Gibson will be the experienced player helping to coach on the court. He recently spoke about his expectations of coming back home to New York during an interview at a community event.

"“I just always had it in the back of my mind, it was always one of those places I wanted to go,” said Gibson, I wasn’t scared of the opportunity. I was waiting for the right opportunity [to come here]. I just jumped on it. I know they’ve had a lot of tough years, but when you win games, the city loves you. I’m looking forward trying to compete and playing hard. “It’s a dream come true and it’s a blessing, because I grew up a Knicks fan, To be back home around my people, it’s amazing.”"

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The mature stance on his situation is an early testament that Gibson understands the fan point of view and the importance of winning over New York. Knicks fans have always appreciated hustle players willing to get dirty to secure a victory and Gibson should fit that mold. Gibson admitting to growing up a Knicks fan is another fun nugget of information needed going into the season for fellow Knickerbocker diehards.