Much as he did last season, Ayo Dosunmu has performed admirably as a fill-in starter for the Chicago Bulls amid Lonzo Ball’s continuing knee issues. Through the team’s first 12 games — all of which were starts for the second-year-baller — Dosunmu has logged a 12-4-3 line while shooting 50% from the field and 38.3% from deep.
And, as a backup, free agent signee Goran Dragic has probably gone above and beyond what many expected to see from him as a 36-year-old who didn’t play much last season.
With all that being said, the recent absence of Coby White has — at the absolute least — limited head coach Billy Donovan’s options on nights where foul trouble stacks or his other backcourt players are struggling to win their matchups. There’s also a chance that Chicago is missing out on a potential resurgence for the baller, who averaged nearly 15 points and five assists two years ago.
In any case, the Bulls play-caller provided an update on White’s status and, from the looks of it, the former lottery pick has a ways to go before he can get back on the court and recoup some of his value.
White Is Still Going Through It
As relayed by NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer, Donovan all but ruled White out as a participant in the Bulls’ Sunday bout with the Denver Nuggets.
White continues to experience swelling in his thigh which, according to Donovan, is still limiting his range of motion of motion in a significant way. Consequently, he hasn’t been practicing with his team or doing any kind of on-court work since hitting the shelf.
The 22-year-old has now missed six straight games for the Bulls with an official diagnosis of a left quad contusion. He last played on October 29 in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. That appearance came just 24 hours after what looked to be a potential breakthrough performance for White.
Playing 31 minutes against the San Anotnio Spurs on the 28th, he scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, nailing three triples and adding four boards, four assists and a steal.
Is White Trending Toward Roster Redundancy?
One cannot stress enough how radically White’s situation with the Bulls has changed in the last 15 months. Heading into last season, the former No. 7 overall pick was seemingly destined for a return to the starting lineup, where he played regularly during the 2020-21 campaign.
Then the Bulls made the move to bring Ball in as the new starting floor general and White began the campaign on the injured list.
So, rather than moving into the featured spot he no doubt felt he was ready for, White found himself battling to lock down a spot in Donovan’s bench rotation. Fast-forward to now and, even when healthy, he has probably ceded minutes to Dragic.
In 13 appearances this season, Dragic is averaging 10.0 points, 3.4 assists and 1.9 rebounds in just 19.0 minutes per game. He’s also shooting 46.7% from three-point range.
White and the Bulls failed to reach agreement on a contract extension ahead of last month’s deadline. As a result, the North Carolina alum will become a restricted free agent (assuming Chicago tenders him a qualifying offer) in the summer.