The Chicago Bulls were decisive this offseason with executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas saying he would address the point guard position and then doing so. Not only did he retain both Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White, the latter before free agency even began.
“With the news that Lonzo Ball is expected to miss the entire 2023-24 regular season, the Bulls needed to add point guard depth to its roster this offseason,” wrote Brian Martin of NBA.com on August 6. “The addition of Carter should help fill that void.”
Ball, 26, has not played since January of the 2021-22 season and his future even beyond the 2023-24 campaign remains in doubt.
Carter, 27, is one of five entrants on Martin’s list of “underrated” offseason moves. The Maywood, Illinois native is coming off a career season. He averaged 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while knocking down 42.1% of his threes and providing solid point-of-attack-defense.
“Carter gives the Bulls a reliable point guard (he posted a 2.87 assist/turnover ratio in Milwaukee) that can execute an offense and help stretch the floor with elite 3-point shooting,” Martin continues.
Jevon Carter May Walk Into Starting Role
The Bulls ranked 29th in three-point attempt rate last season.
They were pretty good against opposing point guards, sporting the fourth-best defensive rating against the position, per Statmuse. But adding Carter to the rotation frees up head coach Billy Donovan to deploy 2022-23 All-Defense First-Teamer Alex Caruso and even Dosunmu elsewhere.
And it sounds like Carter may get the first crack at the starting job judging from comments made by an anonymous Bulls staffer to Keith Smith of Spotrac during Summer League in Las Vegas.
“Jevon will bring some of the defense we lost at the lead guard spot with Lonzo (Ball) out,” the source told Smith on July 14. “And he can shoot too. Coby has come a long way. We think he could win Sixth Man of the Year. He’s been that good as a bench scorer.”
Carter averaged 9.4 points (42.6% 3P), 3.1 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 39 starts last season.
Coby White Could Still Close Games
White was named by NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson as a player he thought could have a “monster” season which might seem like a tall task given that he might already be pigeonholed as a bench player. But, as Johnson alluded to during the “Bulls Talk Podcast” on August 4, White may still be on the floor with most of the starters in crunch time.
“He closed a lot of games last season even before this offseason, and he’s having a healthy offseason,” Johnson said. “I don’t know, just a vibe I have… I feel like Coby’s gonna have a monster year.”
The Bulls boasted a plus-4.2 net rating with White on the floor last season, ranking in the 78th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.
That number dropped to minus-1.0 (44th percentile) when he sat.
Only two players from last year’s squad finished with a higher efficiency differential – Caruso and former Bulls forward/small-ball center Derrick Jones Jr. who remains a free agent after opting out of the second year of his two-year, $6.6 million contract this summer. White is a better scorer than Caruso and played nearly double the minutes of Jones last season.
It may not happen as a starter. But White could certainly still make a name for himself off the bench and in high-leverage situations, perhaps even alongside Carter and whichever three other starters Donovan decides.