Donovan is still deliberating 1 of his biggest decisions, and that’s what to do at point guard. Some piece of this conundrum has to be determined by the front office as they decide whether Coby White can ever be the kind of lead guard capable of handling the requisite load on a championship contender.
While Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and General Manager Marc Eversley continue to compile their notes on the second-year guard, Donovan has to try to find the best combinations and lineups to use each game. Tomas Satoransky might be a more natural fit at point guard than White, and on Saturday night ahead of the Bulls’ rematch against the Orlando Magic after Friday’s 113-109 defeat, Donovan was asked if a change at PG was imminent.
Here was his response:
Billy Donovan on if he has moved any closer to Tomas Satoransky starting at point guard instead of Coby White for #Bulls: "I wouldn't say that I'm there … The biggest thing is trying to find combinations."
He adds White is evolving and Bulls expected ups and down for him.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) February 6, 2021
Donovan has incredibly open and candid with the media, which has been a breath of fresh air. It’s helped to endear this group of Bulls and their coach to the fans. Because of Donovan’s candor, it’s also pretty clear the concept of swapping Satoransky in for White has crossed his mind.
Is it time?
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Is Sato Playing Better Than White?
You can’t look at raw stats to compare the two players because White has played far more minutes and games this season. However, if you look at the per-36-minutes stats, you can get a better idea of the player’s production.
White is averaging 16.3 points, 5.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 2.7 turnovers while making 39% of his shots from the field and 36% from three-point range.
Per 36 minutes, Satoransky is averaging 9.8 points, 9.4 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 3.7 turnovers while shooting 47% from the field and just under 36% from three.
As you can see, it’s fairly close when it comes to these numbers. It’s virtually even from a categorical comparison standpoint. However, with the eye test, it’s hard to question how much better the offense looks when Satoransky is on the floor. White is by far the more explosive scorer, but the offense is smoother with Satoransky on the floor, and he’s also a superior defender. That might explain why Satoransky has the edge over White in Box/Plus-Minus (-2.1 to -4.2).
We saw a bit of this advantage from Satoransky during Saturday’s game when Satoransky outplayed White.
The Change Almost Has to Happen
Donovan almost has to at the very least, give Satoransky a chance at point guard. Midway through Saturday’s game, I tweeted an idea for a rotation for the Bulls.
if they can ever get semi-healthy, i'd like to see this 5 get a look for the #Bulls
6'7 – Sato
6'6 – LaVine
6'5 – White
6'7 – Williams
7'0 – Markkanen
Not Platoon Subs, but
Arch in for Sato
Otto in for LaVine
Denzel in for White
Thad in for Williams
Carter in for Markkanen
— Brian Mazique (@UniqueMazique) February 7, 2021
The Bulls had great success with a small lineup against the Magic on Saturday night. They outscored the Magic 61-43 in the first half en route to a massive win on the road. Satoransky played some major minutes in the first half when the game was being decided, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get more opportunities, and perhaps start sometime in the next few weeks.
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