Bulls Lobbied to Give Former Top-10 Pick More Freedom

Coby White, Chicago Bulls

Getty Coby White #0 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles up the court.

The Chicago Bulls are led by a trio of offensive stars in their own right. Each of DeMar DeRozan, fellow wing Zach LaVine, and starting center Nikola Vucevic boast unique skill sets that allow them to be focal points of an offense.

Beyond them, the Bulls are searching for consistency from among an eclectic mix of veterans like 36-year-old Goran Dragic and youngsters like 20-year-old rookie Dalen Terry.

In the middle are players like Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, and Patrick Williams.

Caruso has carved out his role and has championship credentials to back it up. Dosunmu has earned a starting role while Williams lost his amid continued talk of mental hurdles. That just leaves White who has been available via trade for the “last year” but could be one of the most valuable assets the Bulls have.

Green Light Coby White

White is heading into the finals year of his contract with an extension seemingly off the table. He has played well this preseason averaging 9.3 points while hitting 38.9% of his threes. The Bulls would certainly like to see even more scoring from the streaky shooter.

But they will need to empower him to do it.

“Admittedly, Coby White isn’t the cleanest fit with this roster,” writes Zach Buckley for Bleacher Report, “his offense remains ahead of his defense, and his scoring remains ahead of his table-setting. If you were crafting the ideal support player to slot alongside DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, you’d want the reverse of both.”

The Bulls boasted two top-10 scorers in DeRozan and LaVine when both were healthy last season. But LaVine suffered through a knee injury for most of the season and, along with Vucevic, were outscored by 0.5 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.

They were plus-6.0 when White was inserted into the mix.

“White packs a powerful scoring punch,” Buckley continues, “and Chicago should continue finding ways to use that to its advantage. The 22-year-old is a fiery three-point shooter and aggressive finisher in transition. If this offense sputters at all in Ball’s absence, White should have the green light to go get his.”

White was seemingly the only player not in the running for the starting point guard role vacated by the injured Lonzo Ball which will now be filled by the second-year man Dosunmu.

Still, White and head coach Billy Donovan have both touted the 22-year-old’s versatility.

White Playing Up

A “point guard” in name only, over 81% of White’s career looks from beyond the arc have come via an assist. Last season, he got a career-high 89.3% of his threes and 42% of his two-pointers that way hinting that he is seen by the coaching staff as an off-ball asset, not a lead guard.

But White has been used in several ways in his tumultuous career that has been mired by injury and inconsistency.

“I take pride in being able to play multiple positions,” White told media after a recent practice, “so that’s nothing new to me. I’ve been doing that since I’ve been here. I take pride in playing 1, 2, 3. Wherever they want me at…As long as I’m getting minutes and on the floor, I don’t really care.”

There is a notion that White could struggle to get on the floor amid a deeper guard rotation than last year. But, outside of LaVine, he’s still the best shooter with his efficiency and volume on a team that was dead-last in three-point volume last season. The Bulls and White both need each other for the time being.

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