The season’s theme for the Chicago Bulls has been constant since opening night, Lonzo Ball is sorely missed. After half a dozen players have seen court time in attempts to fill the voids that Ball’s absence has left, none have turned back successful results. From the Goran Dragic signing to the Patrick Beverley addition, nothing has provided Chicago with a clear solution for the point guard position for the future. One bench piece may have surged in the last few months as their man moving forward, and at only 23 years of age, he’s worth investing in.
Developing His Game
Drafted seventh overall out of North Carolina, Coby White has been a constant outside threat for Chicago off the bench, starting only 27% of his career appearances for the Bulls. This season has seen a definite step up from the 23-year-old, and while the stat sheet might not show it, Chicago is taking notice of his improvements.
His playmaking has taken a significant step forward alongside his ball-handling, making him more of a well-rounded offensive threat than the pure three-point shooter he’d been labeled as before this season. His defense has also taken a leap forward. Creating transition opportunities and taking charges was something he had not shown before the 2022-23′ campaign. At his career-low usage rate, his true shooting percentage is at a career-high this year, displaying his increases in efficiency while becoming the Bulls’ sixth man of the year.
Looming Free Agency
Coby White is slated to be a restricted free agent this summer, where there will certainly be more demand than just the Chicago Bulls. As young and developed as White is, his proven consistency from being the arc will make him a hot commodity this offseason. The problem for the Bulls will be the competition and White’s career goal of being an NBA starter.
“To become a starter? Hell yeah, That doesn’t change. I’m only 23, you know what I’m saying? I’ve got so much room to grow. That goal doesn’t change. I want to be a starting guard in the league.”Coby White via @DarnellMayberry on Twitter
His head coach knows that White being a starter in this league is also on the horizon, recently commenting on the prospect of the former Tarheel inserting himself in a starting lineup soon.
If Coby White truly believes he’s a starter in today’s NBA, and is offered a contract that reflects that from another team, if Chicago is not willing to commit to a starting point guard type of offer, they might lose their young sparkplug off the bench. This would be a huge blow to the Bulls next season, who already rank dead last in three-point attempts and below league-average in three-point percentage. White is second on the team in attempts, top-three in percentage, and also ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio. Losing him would effectively create the need for a rebuilt second unit around a new featured guard off the bench. With Ball already announced out for likely the entire 2023-24′ season, White’s absence would be glaring.
Starting White in the Play-In not only sends the message that he’s valued as the point guard of the future but could also provide playmaking and three-point shooting to the position for the first time since Ball’s injury in January of 2022.