With only eight games remaining, the Chicago Bulls are all but eliminated from the playoffs, leading many to ask how and where they’ll improve the roster this offseason.
The answer, if you’re asking Arutras Karnisovas at least, is probably point guard.
That’s not great news for second-year guard Coby White, who, with the clock running out in year two has yet to cement himself as a key piece of the team’s future.
It’s only going to lead to his involvement in an offseason already slated for speculation in the Windy City.
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Bulls Were Active at the Deadline
While most people will focus on the Chicago Bulls blockbuster deal for Nikola Vucevic, don’t forget the run they made at acquiring Lonzo Ball.
The 23-year old point guard is headed for restricted free agency this offseason, and it’s increasingly unlikely that an underwhelming New Orleans Pelicans team will overpay to keep him.
So, the Bulls swung and missed at the trade deadline. But don’t doubt they’ll be back at bat come the summer.
As recently as last week, Chicago was being tied to Ball still. It’s clear that someone in the front office, or a group of people, sees a successful version of this roster with the guard at the helm.
What’s interesting though, is that as thorough as the Bulls’ talks with the Pelicans were, Coby White’s name never came up. In fact, per team insider K.C. Johnson, his name didn’t come up in any trade talks ahead of the deadline:
Management traded away several young pieces at the trade deadline and White’s name never surfaced in any conversations I heard.
Whether that speaks to what Chicago was willing to part with at the time, or how they view White long-term is unclear.
But it should be taken into account in any speculation regarding the 21-year old’s future.
Yes, the Chicago Bulls desperately want to upgrade the point guard position.
But perhaps they don’t think they need to part with Coby White in order to do so.
Chicago Looking for a Spark
With Zach LaVine out for an extended time, one would think that a prime opportunity for an offensively skilled guy like Coby White to thrive with extra shot attempts.
While that was the case at first, the 21-year old’s play has regressed the last four games. He’s made just 21-of-58 attempts from the field, to go with 11 turnovers.
It’s no coincidence that the Chicago Bulls have gone 1-3 in that span. Because even with LaVine absent, the team went 3-3 in the six games prior, with White shooting an improved 48 percent from the field.
Even in their latest loss to the Atlanta Hawks, a permissible one given the also absent Nikola Vucevic, the guard shot just five-of-16 from the field and one-of-six from three to go with four turnovers.
Those kinds of performances only highlight the critiques of White and flaws within his game.
With Chicago headed for an offseason in which they desperately need to improve, the timing couldn’t be worse.
As the Bulls continue searching for someone to step up and serve as the third banana behind LaVine and Vucevic, Coby White’s name is falling further and further down the list of candidates.
Updated Bulls Playoff Odds
After their latest loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Chicago Bulls drop to 26-38.
That’s good for the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference, and two games back of the 10th seed Washington Wizards.
Five Thirty Eight has the Bulls’ playoff chances at less than one percent.
Elsewhere, Tankathon.com has Chicago’s remaining schedule as the fifth-toughest in the entire NBA.
So the odds are stacked against the Chicago Bulls, who are 4-6 in their last 10.
Nine games to go.