Day 2 of Bulls media week is upon us and today we got to hear from second-year guard Coby White. Coby is coming off of an explosive end to his rookie season. In the final 15 games of the season, Coby averaged 20.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.9 RPG, & 41.4 FG%. He scored 20+ points in 8 out of the last 15 games of the season. Coby ended the year on a high note which has Bulls fans excited to see what he can do.
Coby White post-All-Star break:
Reigning rookie of the month ✅
First rookie to ever score 30 in back to back nights ✅
He is the first player in Bulls’ history to score 30-plus points in three straight games since MJ ✅ pic.twitter.com/OO9VGboPAg
— Josh J. (@JoshJBullsHoops) July 14, 2020
However, his performance did raise some questions about whether he could fit the true point guard role. During his first season, he looked to play more like a shooting guard and less like a floor general. Coby appears to have been aware of that and has been working this offseason to improve his game.
Coby White: “I feel like I’ve taken a huge leap in my game, especially my decision making… shooting off the dribble, finishing at the rim… the game has really slowed down for me. I’m still learning but I feel like I’ve made a huge leap and I think I’m getting better for sure.” pic.twitter.com/RaNwOSAIeP
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 2, 2020
While Coby has the shooting ability to hold his own in the NBA he needs to work on his decision making to make the leap to a true PG. He needs to be the floor general and facilitate the offense. He appears to have backing from new head coach Billy Donovan.
Coby White says Billy Donovan told him he wants him to be the #Bulls’ primary ball handler and primary point guard.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) December 2, 2020
This bodes well for the second-year guard. If his coach is backing him it will be big as he develops into a floor general. This will be a nice step for Coby as the Bulls are trying to figure out what they have in their young core.
Can Coby become a true PG?
Everything appears to be falling into place for Coby to make the full transition into a true point guard. Billy Donovan has coached some very good point guards including Chris Paul. Coby White considers Paul to be his mentor and even talked with him after the Bulls brought Donovan in. Coby will be surrounded by coaches who believe he can be a true PG and will help mould him into one. He has a mentor in Paul who is a prime example of a true PG. He’s got a lot of support around him to help become the Bulls floor general.
By all accounts, it appears that the PG spot is his to lose. Bulls PG Tomas Satoransky started in 64 of the Bulls 65 games last season. His play wasn’t exactly starting PG caliber. If the Bulls don’t believe Coby is ready then Satoransky could fill in to begin the season. But it’s clear that this coaching staff believes in Coby being the guy.
Coby White said his interactions with Billy Donovan have been instructive about point guard play.
Rumor is: Donovan has coached a couple good ones.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 2, 2020
Does Coby want to be the leader of this team?
In his media appearance, he made it clear that he wants to be a leader. Coby is ready to make the jump and be the head point guard for the Bulls.
Coby: “That’s what I focused on: being more vocal with positive energy, demanding more, commanding more, letting everybody hear my voice. I want to be the leader of this team, I want to be the head point guard.” pic.twitter.com/JigKu71LFS
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 2, 2020
One huge part of being the floor general is being vocal and commanding everyone on the floor. Coby working on that is a big part of his new role. It’s great to hear Coby speak to the things he’s been working on this offseason. It’s even better to hear it from other players on the team. Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen commented on Coby using his voice more.
Lauri Markkanen when asked in what way has Coby White developed or improved in the last nine months:
Lauri: *jokingly* “He’s a lot more vocal. He talks a lot. Maybe he needs to keep his mouth shut sometimes.”
— Josh J. (@JoshJBullsHoops) December 1, 2020
If the Bulls want to see success from Coby at the point guard position then he needs to be vocal. This is great to hear, even in a joking format. By all accounts, Coby appears to be putting in the work to be the starting PG and he wants to be in this position.
The Coby and Zach Duo
If Coby White can make the jump to being a true PG it will open things up nicely for starting SG Zach LaVine. LaVine spent a good portion of last season trying to create offense for himself and take over. This will allow him to move more freely and let the offense come to him. The two of them can be very special together if Coby makes the jump. Coby found ways to produce under Bull’s previous head coach Jim Boylen. We should see quite a bit more improvement for him under a competent head coach.
Expect to see a reenergized Bulls team to start this season. While the roster is basically the same as last year the energy will be much different. If Coby can be a true floor general for this team the Bulls may be in for a pretty nice season.