Former First-Round Pick Deemed Bulls’ ‘Biggest Post-Lottery Question’

Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago Bulls

Getty Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas of the Chicago Bulls.

The 2023-24 season turned out differently than the Chicago Bulls hoped.

They set out to improve upon their 2022-23 disappointment but won fewer games for the second consecutive season. The 2024 Draft Lottery offered a chance to spark optimism amid promises of change from Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas.

That was quickly dashed. The Bulls stayed put at No. 11 overall when the ping-pong balls fell on May 12.

With that out of the way, the Bulls face a new “biggest post-lottery question” with Coby White.

“What does Coby White‘s breakout season mean for the Bulls’ future?” ESPN’s Jamal Collier wrote on May 12. “Despite missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season, White’s breakout was the biggest bright spot for Chicago.”

White was the No. 7 overall pick by the Bulls in the 2019 draft. But an inconsistent role and play left him on the roster bubble for much of his early tenure.

He was on the trade block coming into the 2022-23 season; when his breakout first began.

Coby White Among Bulls’ ‘Few Interesting Players’

White set career-high marks with 19.1 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game this past season for the Bulls. He also shot 37.6% deep on a career-high 7.0 attempts per game.

He finished second for Most Improved Player in Year 1 of a three-year, $36 million contract.

“Couple White’s ascension with Ayo Dosunmu sliding back and excelling in a role more suited for him and Patrick Williams‘ improvement before an injury and the Bulls have a few interesting young players,” Collier wrote.

Dosunmu, in Year 1 of a three-year, $21 million pact, averaged 12.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 2023-24.

With poor numbers when Dosnunmu and White share the floor, change may be in order.

“Karnisovas took responsibility after the season, saying that missing the playoffs wasn’t good enough and they would look to improve,” Collier wrote. “He has been aggressive in trading away picks in the past — dealing a first-rounder in 2021 and ’23 to Orlando with a ’25 first-rounder still owed to San Antonio — but what will the Bulls do with a low lottery pick as they try to find ways to improve the roster?”

The Bulls’ architect was not referring to breaking up his young backcourt of White and Dosunmu. But the Bulls could land a prospect that pushes one of them – most likely Dosunmu – off the ball even more than they already are.

Bulls Projected to Land USC’s Isaiah Collier

ESPN’s Jonathan Govony projected USC point guard Isaiah Collier as the Bulls’ most likely pick should they stay put at No. 11.

They are now projected to land the 6-foot-4 Collier with their draft fate now settled.

“Collier is one of the toughest players to evaluate in this class. He started the season on fire and looked like a candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick but tailed off as USC fell apart,” The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie wrote on May 11. “He struggled with turnovers and defense before hurting his hand and missing time.”

Collier also made NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson’s list of potential targets, one that could alleviate some of the burden on White.

“With his ballhandling and physicality, he’d serve as solid insurance if Lonzo Ball isn’t able to complete his NBA comeback,” Johnson wrote on May 12. “The Bulls still don’t possess a true halfcourt organizer.”

Ball is working his way back but has not played in over two years.

“Collier potentially could develop into that role, allowing Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu to play more off-the-ball,” Johnson wrote of the Bulls’ backcourt dynamic.

Read More