What’s more important, playoff seeding or player health?
LeBron James and David Blatt are pulling the Cavaliers in opposite directions with that important question.
Gibson doesn’t see the value in returning just to win a couple extra games and putting the team in position of jeopardizing it’s long-term playoff prospects with diminishing health.
“Right now you never really know in the east,” Gibson said. “It’s about playing in the east getting a nice rhythm going, try to get as many wins as possible and whatever the chips fall, they fall. Just gotta know you have the team fully healthy.”
The 41-28 Bulls are fourth in the Eastern Conference, a half game ahead of the Wizards and a half game behind the Raptors.
With Cleveland cruising and looking likely for the No. 2 seed, the No. 3 seed – and a second-round matchup with the Cavaliers – might be the worst spot among the 3/4/5 seeds. The No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round obviously beats the No. 5 seed, but No. 5 – and the chance to play the Hawks rather than Cleveland in the second round – might trump No. 3.
So, in these circumstances, it’s a bit easier to prioritize health.
But I wonder how Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau feels about this. He has repeatedly stated the need for players to develop by playing and practicing together. Resting players doesn’t just reduce a team’s chances of winning in the short-term. It removes an opportunity to build chemistry.
This is obviously a balancing act, and Gibson – who said he could play against the Raptors tonight – has made clear which he prioritizes.