Taj Gibson,  Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker

Taj Gibson might be Bulls’ best player in camp, Tom Thibodeau says

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Derrick Rose will be the Bulls’ best player next season. In some order, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Carlos Boozer will follow.

Taj Gibson has a chance to join that secondary group.

In three preseason games, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Preseason games don’t mean much, but when that production backed by a strong scouting report from the coach, that bodes well.

Tom Thibodeau, via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

‘‘You could make a case that Taj has been our best player in camp,’’ Thibodeau said.

‘‘[Last season] wasn’t up to his standards,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He’s playing with a lot of confidence now.’’

The Bulls bench lost a little luster last season, and Gibson taking a small step back contributed. He was still solid, but he wasn’t the Sixth Man of the Year candidate he was the year prior. If Gibson gets back on track, he could be a key piece toward a Chicago title run.

Gibson is an excellent defender, and you know Thibodeau appreciates that. The big man also scores well in the paint, though his offense hasn’t exactly been a huge asset. If he progresses on that end, he could mean a lot more than a key 2013-14 piece. He could be the catalyst for the Bulls moving Carlos Boozer, either via amnesty or trade.

Simply, the better Gibson is, the more flexibility Chicago has in the short and long term.

Report: Donatas Motiejunas no-shows physical after Rockets match Nets’ offer

Donatas Motiejunas, Kenneth Faried
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Nets’ signed Rockets restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas to an offer sheet. Houston elected to match.

Case closed?

Hardly.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Houston has a right to demand Motiejunas undergo a physical within two days of exercising its matching rights, which it did yesterday. Motiejunas is requires to answer questions truthfully and supply requested medical information.

If Motiejunas fails to meet those requirements, he hangs in limbo until the Rockets decide his fate.

At any time between now and March 1, they could elect to undo their offer-sheet match. That would invalidate Motiejunas’ offer sheet and make him a restricted free agent again, and the Nets couldn’t sign him for a year. On March 2, the same effect will become automatic.

I don’t see what Motiejunas gains by not reporting. If he fails his Houston physical, he’d go to Brooklyn on the terms of the offer sheet.

By not undergoing the physical, he goes nowhere.

Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant team up for floor-is-lava alley-oop (video)

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Klay Thompson might have had the huge game for the Warriors, but Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant teamed up for the Warriors’ most spectacular play against the Pacers.

Once Green released his long outlet pass, the ball travelled three-quarters of the court and into the basket without a player touching it and the floor simultaneously.

Here’s another angle:

Dwight Powell obliterates Cody Zeller on alley-oop (video)

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Andrew Bogut patting Cody Zeller on the head, even if unintentional, was the perfect response to Dwight Powell dunking on the Hornets center.

There, there, Cody. It’ll be OK.

At least Charlotte got a 109-101 win over the Mavericks.

Stephen Curry dumps ice on mid-interview Klay Thompson, who says ‘I’m still hot’ (video)

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Klay Thompson scored an incredible 60 points in 29 minutes.

So, what did Stephen Curry do? Dump ice on his Warriors teammate during the post-game interview, of course.

That didn’t cool down Thompson, who’s probably still hot this morning.