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Taj Gibson says getting healthy more important than playoff seed

Taj Gibson

Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Chicago on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


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.

In Chicago – where Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler have missed time and Joakim Noah is on a minute limit – Gibson has his answer.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

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.