Key Bulls Guard Could Face G League Demotion, But Not Yet

Coby White, Bulls

Getty Coby White, Bulls

It has been easy, given the surprising run of early NBA success the new-look Bulls have had to this point, to overlook the one guy who has been mostly left behind. That would be third-year guard Coby White, who was the No. 2 scorer in total points for the Bulls last season but injured his left shoulder while away from the team in the offseason. White had surgery in June and after six months of rehab and recovery, returned to the floor last Monday against the Lakers.

It’s not gone well, at least before Sunday. White looked out of sorts and played only 32 minutes in three games since coming back. He missed the first six shots he took, finally getting his first basket of the season against Denver on Friday, and was just 1-for-11 from the field heading into Sunday’s game against the Knicks.

Coby White is back training & ready to take over the NBA for Chicago Bulls after shoulder surgeryCoby White of Chicago Bulls is finally back training and ready to make this season's NBA debut! Instagram : Twitter : Youtube :… First Song : LAKEY INSPIRED – Chill Day (Vlog No Copyright Music) Music provided by Vlog No Copyright Music. Video Link:

He was better against New York, posting 14 points in 21 minutes, on 5-for-11 shooting.

Still, some in Chicago have called for White to spend some time getting back into rhythm with the Windy City Bulls, the team’s G League affiliate. But coach Billy Donovan told reporters that was not an option that had been broached with White yet.

“I haven’t really talked to him about that,’’ Donovan said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The way our schedule is set up now, it’s pretty hard. The West Coast trip and then the back-to-back, we haven’t had any practice time. I think he does need some of that quite honestly.”

White Can Be an Asset — If He Gets Back Into Form

There are a few different ways the season could go for White now that he is back and healthy, and two of those ways could be beneficial to the Bulls.

One, White could get himself, quickly, back to 100% and establish his value as a trade chip, a 21-year-old scorer who can be an offensive igniter either as a starter or as a reserve–he’s played both roles. Though he is still wet behind the ears, White is an explosive young player who would attract up-and-coming teams building toward a role as a contender, and could help land the Bulls another veteran role player to solidify the current roster.

Or, White could not only show himself to be back to 100%, he could thrive in his role off the bench with the Bulls. If he could chip in 12-14 points and pick up the slack when there are injuries or foul trouble, Chicago might not need to deal away White at all. They’d already have an ideal role player on their hands.

Either of those paths figure to be beneficial to the Bulls, who entered Sunday’s game at 11-5, a half-game out of the first overall spot in the East.

The one utterly useless outcome for White, though, would be that he struggles to fit in with his new teammates and posts terrible numbers. That’s where he is now, with plenty of time to change it. But if his funk continues, his trade value will be sapped.

Donovan Backs White Despite Struggles

Donovan, for his part, defended White’s early struggles by noting that not much was expected of him from the start of his return, adding that White is sliding back into a lineup that has changed completely. The Bulls’ rotations feature only one major player who was also on the roster to start last season, and that would be Zach LaVine.

“One of the things that’s really not been talked about very much is the fact that the only guy on the court that he ever played with last year is Zach LaVine,’’ Donovan said. “He’s not played with another person on our team. He’s trying to figure out his role and how he can play, all those types of things. He wants to do the right thing, he wants to play, he wants to help, but I think he’s been out of sorts a little bit, which I fully anticipated with the amount of time he’s missed.”

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