This is a very important year for the Chicago Bulls and fourth-year guard, Coby White knows it. It is a significant year for him as well with his contract set to expire at the end of the season and the jury still out on his long-term future.
The Bulls fielded calls on White for the past year but could not find anything to their liking for the former seventh-overall pick in 2019.
They will focus on rebuilding his trade value with the intention of exploring it at the deadline.
But the possibility technically still exists for the Bulls to reach an extension before the season or, if they wait, a new deal next summer. If that happens, that likely means White played lights out which would only follow what he had to see on the team’s mindset this offseason.
Bulls Have ‘Championship Standards’
White has been overseas for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Asia. That has kept him away from the pro-am circuit several of his teammates have participated in. But he was at the team’s unofficial workout sessions in Los Angeles.
While helping to grow the game internationally, he has stayed tapped in with the team.
In a story about Bulls’ assistant Damian Cotter‘s NBA journey, White spoke with Roy Ward of The Sydney Morning Herald saying the “ceiling is limitless” for the Bulls.
“Before I came out here we were all together in L.A. so, with a full summer, anything is possible for us”
He then went on to echo the sentiments shared by some of his teammates and certainly Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.
“We want to make the playoffs, definitely, but we have championships standards over here – we are trying to win…A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of those [contending] teams like Milwaukee, Phoenix, Golden State, and Boston have been together for years. Their core has been together.” (H/T Roy Ward/The Sydney Morning Herald)
White has bought into that message.
“That was our first year, we had a whole new team, so it takes time to get better.”
Bulls Dangerous (When Healthy)
During the August 9 episode of the “Bulls Talk Podcast”, hosts K.C. Johnson and Rob Schaefer pointed out that the Bulls’ closing lineup was particularly strong. And Patrick Williams’ injury forced their intended starting lineup to see just 63 minutes in five games together all season.
The underappreciated aspect of all their injuries was how depleted their bench was. Chicago’s reserves ranked 29th in points per game.
They were also 28th in minutes per game as they had to ride their healthy players to compete.
White made 17 starts last season – after being primarily a starter the year before. The 6-foot-5 White recorded his only season with a defensive rating at or above the 50th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass. He added 2.5 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor.
That was good for second among the eight Bulls to see at least 1000 non-garbage minutes.
Unfortunately for White and the Bulls, he allowed the defense to score 3.1 points more per 100 possessions; third-worst on the team.
But he did shoot a career-high 38.5% from beyond the arc on 5.8 attempts per game, third on the team behind only Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball. On a Bulls team that ranked fourth in three-point efficiency but dead last in attempts, White is not a luxury.
Bulls Need Coby White
It is not as if they added anyone outside of 36-year-old Goran Dragic who is a career 36% shooter from deep and shot just 25.4% on threes last year. That is why extending White before he hits restricted free agency could be a smarter play.
The Bulls would be selling low on a player that has flashed enough potential to warrant getting a look at him in a proper role with proper support.
They could do much worse than White for a scoring option off of the bench.
His defense is less of a worry in that capacity as well. But he has to find a level of consistency to warrant that extended look.
Otherwise, the Bulls could find themselves in the same position they have been for the last year. Searching for a taker for White at the deadline without any takers. And then what happens in free agency?
The good news for the Bulls and fans is White is not focused on that. He is locked in on helping this team win a championship which some say is their only acceptable path.