WHITE HAS TO MAKE HIS POINT
COVID RESTRICTIONS HAVE CUT INTO TIME COBY HAS HAD TO IMPROVE HIS GAME
That’s all the film Coby White has in his file as a starting point guard when a new-look Bulls front office startd making tough assessments.
And it wasn’t exactly a game that screamed, “Yeah, you’re the guy, Coby!’’ Yes, the March 10 home game against the Cavaliers was a victory, and White led the Bulls with 20 points, but as far as being an NBA lead guard? Not when White had nine turnovers to five assists.
That’s what White will continue to fight.
Scouts questioned his ability to play the point coming out of North Carolina because of his court vision and decision-making, and those traits haven’t exactly improved. Unfortunately for White, the coronavirus shutdown made sure they couldn’t.
When he was finally handed the keys to start the car after coming off the bench the entire season, he got exactly one game to begin the development process before the league boarded up its doors.
No biggie. After all, an NBA offseason allows young players to get back in the gym to work on their game, get a second run in Summer League, and watch film with the coaching staff to fix the holes. Except this offseason has not allowed any of that.
“Work out, that’s about it,’’ White said earlier this week, when asked what he’s exactly been able to do since the shutdown. “I was able to hoop a little bit when I was home, but I’ve been back in Chicago for two or three months. Really, all I can do is come to the gym, work out, kind of doing the same thing every day — one player per basket, get some stuff done in the weight room. Other than that, it’s all it’s really been.’’
That’s why this current minicamp is so vital for White and his teammates.
Being excluded from the Orlando bubble was a competitive disadvantage that might take the eight teams left out years to get over. Well, seven, considering the Warriors are poised to simply reload when their championship roster gets healthy.
The NBA offered these minicamps to try to give the have-nots something to build on, and White said they have to embrace the situation — fair or unfair.
“The big thing is just all coming together, getting a feel for each other,’’ White said. “Just getting that team chemistry back. We’ve been away from each other for so long and we haven’t played with each other in so long, so for us to just get back all on the court together it’ll be good for us. With everything going on in the world, some of us haven’t really played basketball or been down and played five-on-five in so long,. For a lot of us basketball is our therapy.’’
As of Friday, the Bulls players were still working out individually, with the full intrasquad scrimmages coming next week.
The main battle when the ball is rolled out? It’s White vs. Kris Dunn.
White feels he will be the starting point guard for this franchise moving forward, while Dunn — a restricted free agent this offseason — is not only fighting for his old starting job back, but a new contract, whether from the Bulls or elsewhere.
White reminded the media of his versatility to play either guard spot, but make no mistake, he also made it clear what his goal will be whenever the 2020-21 season is set to tip off.
“Moving forward my primary position is point guard, but I also can play off the ball because I can score and shoot it so well,’’ White said. ✶
Coby White made one start at point guard during his rookie season.
A key battle in the upcoming minicamp will be at point guard between Kris Dunn (left) and Coby White (right).