WHITE HAS TO MAKE HIS POINT

COVID RE­STRIC­TIONS HAVE CUT INTO TIME COBY HAS HAD TO IM­PROVE HIS GAME

Chicago Sun-Times - - BULLS BEAT - BY JOE COW­LEY jcow­ley@sun­times.com @JCow­leyHoops

One 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. ✶

AP

Coby White made one start at point guard dur­ing his rookie sea­son.

MORRY GASH/AP

A key bat­tle in the up­com­ing mini­camp will be at point guard be­tween Kris Dunn (left) and Coby White (right).

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