The Bulls should be pretty happy with the 2019-20 NBA Rookie Survey results.
To no surprise, Zion Williamson dominated many of the categories, but Coby White found himself highly regarded among his 2019 NBA Draft class peers. While White didn’t finish first in any one section, he did receive votes in five of the seven player-specific categories.
Here’s how White finished:
- Rookie of the Year (received votes)
- Best Defender (received votes)
- Best career (tied for fourth with 5%)
- Biggest steal (tied for third place with 5%)
- Best playmaker (tied for third place with 10%)
Receiving votes for Rookie of the Year is flattering, but Ja Morant and Williamson are the clear front-runners for the award. We recently took a look at what it takes to win the award based on the previous 10 winners, and White just isn’t in the right situation. Obviously, the player needs to have a substantial role on the team with starting-caliber minutes. Everything the Bulls have done thus far has given us no indication they’ll let White run loose, and you’re not touching this award as a back-up.
It clearly wasn’t a substantial number, but White also received votes for the best defender. I’ve discussed White’s defensive upside in the past, but many believe this is an area of weakness right now for the new point guard. His frame isn’t necessarily the biggest thanks to his short wingspan, but he has the quick feet and solid awareness to become a really useful defender in this league. Regardless, many were concerned about White being on the court alongside Zach LaVine this upcoming season due to the lack of a real backcourt defensive presence, but I guess some of White’s fellow rookies believe he’s going to be just fine.
White tied for fourth-place in the “biggest steal of the draft” category feels like pretty high praise. All other candidates in the top-three were higher than a No. 20-overall pick, so this indicates some players must really be high on White if they believe he’s higher than No. 7. Although, the positive vibes toward White were especially evident during the best NBA career question, where White shockingly ranks the same as Williamson, RJ Barrett and Jaxson Hayes. I’ll take that.
All of this is great news for the Bulls, who seems to have one of the highest regarded rookies in the draft class. If one thing is for sure in the NBA, it never hurts to have a high approval rating, especially when free agency hits down the road (build those relationships, pal).
Although in the short term, White’s playmaking rating is probably what Bulls fans should be most excited about. If this franchise has needed anything since the rocky Derrick Rose road, it’s a point guard to believe in. The team has been in desperate need of a facilitator who can help space the floor and open up opportunities for its young talent. The Bulls have done a tremendous job at lacking creativity over the past several years, but it’ll be almost impossible to keep that up with White sitting on your roster.
White still has plenty to prove to the NBA fans waiting to watch at home, but it’s a sigh of relief to see those close to him off the court have such high hopes.