Joining the Bulls as their most recent No. 7-overall draft pick, Coby White has found his way into a messy point guard situation this fall – currently competing against Tomas Satoransky, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Shaquille Harrison for minutes at the position.
And that means that Training Camp is a pivotal time for White to prove his worth, especially for whatever early-season minutes may or may not be available. Fortunately, according to The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry, he’s doing just that:
“He’s not scared, which I love,” Boylen said. “He’s more physical than I thought this early. He’s a big body. He can play on the ball and off the ball, which we thought. He’s shot the ball very well in camp. He puts a shoulder on you, you feel it. His physicality is what we hoped it would be. I didn’t know if it would come this fast. We’re thankful for him.”
The organization has talked endlessly about their plans to pick up the pace and move the ball around more this season, which fits White’s skillset to a T. So with that in mind, and considering his ability to play off the ball (and general talent in transition), White has to be a part of the Bulls gameplan from the get-go, right?
After all, Chicago was already near the bottom ten in PACE last season (20th), and when you consider the new talent on the roster, that’s not going to cut it this time around. Indeed, a player like White – who led North Carolina to the 8th-best PACE in college basketball (75.0) – can and should have an immediate impact if deployed properly.
But even if you look past gameplan and solely at athleticism, White still provides plenty of reasons to be on the court. Head coach Jim Boylen spoke about his “big body,” something that can sometimes go unnoticed due to his less-than-stellar wingspan (his hair might also be grabbing most of the attention). White’s six-foot-five size will definitely be a positional advantage in several matchups throughout the year. Plus, once he learns how to use those quick feet to stay in front of defenders, he’ll play a lot better at the two, and with probable minutes at shooting guard to start the season, the Bulls better hope that happens sooner rather than later.
Take a brief second to watch the GAINS.
LET’S GO 🔥
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 3, 2019
Boylen also points out White’s “physicality,” something I’m glad is on full display during NBA-level practices. I’ve always thought White’s combination of his speed with his strong upper body actually allows him to absorb contact well when driving to the basket. He demonstrated it often in college, but he can push off a defender better than many expect underneath the basket.
Nonetheless, the best part about all this … hearing the words: “I didn’t know if it would come this fast.” I mean, this is one happy coach:
What has been the most pleasant surprise for Jim Boylen through 3 days of camp?
"The gradual development of Coby White. I'm not saying I didn't see it coming, but it's been really good."
Also noted Bulls having positional size and that they're fast both on and off the ball.
— Mark Strotman (@markstrot) October 3, 2019
Many have pegged White to be much more of a project (with tremendous upside) than the other point guards in the draft. If the Bulls can tap into his talent faster than anticipated, the team’s overall chances of clawing their way into the playoffs become that much better.