Coby White's First Start of the Year Was Our Best Look at His Basketball IQ

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Coby White’s First Start of the Year Was Our Best Look at His Basketball IQ

Chicago Bulls

I miss basketball so much I decided to rewatch some of the Bulls games this season! 

Which Game and Why?

Game: Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46) at Chicago Bulls (22-43) on March 1oth, 2020
Conclusion: Bulls win 108-103

Why: Not only did this unexpectedly serve as the Bulls last game of the season, but Coby White also received the first start of his career.

Some Stats to Know

•   Coby White finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, marking his 9th-straight game with 19+ points and his 5th-straight with 5+ assists. On a bad note, he finished with a game-high 9 turnovers.
•   Satoransky scored only 5 points in his off-the-bench debut, but he hauled in 8 rebounds and dished out 5 assists.
•   Shaquille Harrison had 10 rebounds. Yes, you read that correctly.
•   The frontcourt duo of Lauri Markkanen (15 points, 4 rebounds) and Wendell Carter Jr. (17 points, 6 rebounds) went toe-to-toe with the Cavs’ Kevin Love (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Andre Drummond (26 points, 7 rebounds).
•   Bulls out-rebounded the Cavaliers 46-35.


1st 11:06 – Markkanen took the first two shots of the game … which I guess is something? But yet again Zach LaVine is out.

1st 9:03 – Coby White splits the defenders for a mid-range jumper, which is something I’d like to see MUCH more of in the future. I don’t care if it’s not a “high-percentage shot,” it can be depending on the player.

1st 4:18 – Ugh. The Bulls spacing is all out of whack.

1st 1:39 – Coby White and Lauri Markkanen are off the court and Thaddeus Young becomes the team’s first option on offense? Uh, you still have Carter Jr. and Otto Porter out there. Use those two.

2nd 11:44 – Otto and Wendell high pick and roll turns into Wendell baseline jumper. That’s better.

2nd 10:52 – No joke, no one guarded Kevin Love for what felt like 20 minutes during that last possession. He missed the wide-open three, but how does that happen?

2nd 9:25 – Wendell put the ball on the court, blew past Love, and dunked ferociously. The Bulls need to remind him that it’s okay to work off the dribble.

2nd 7:23 – LOL Larry Nance fell because Coby is too fast. Loser.

2nd 6:02 – We just got a shot of Jim Boylen clapping, so now my computer is in pieces on the floor. I got to go get a new one. Brb.

2nd 3:44 – I’ll give Lauri this, he certainly isn’t afraid to shoot any 3 ever.

3rd 11:12 – Why can a 19-year-old Coby White grow better facial hair than me?

3rd 10:06 – Hey Denzel, a good way NOT to get a job in this league is by trying to take a floater with three guys guarding you.

3rd 9:49 – Denzel told me to shut up and made a quick transition 3.

3rd 8:20 – Lauri up to 10 shot attempts and it’s the beginning of the 3rd quarter? Me likey.

3rd 7:43 – The Bulls set some really weak and weird screens. Set your feet and clean it up, boys.

3rd 6:43 – An on-screen promo for the Bulls next game in Orlando appeared … little do they know.

3rd 0:47.2 – Is it just me or does Wendell always play really well against Andre Drummond? *Does some googling* Nope, not just me … he had a double-double in each of the first three games played against played Drummond this season. Cool. 

End of 3rd – The Bulls have shot four free throws … FOUR. FREE. THROWS.


4th 9:38 – You know, if this Otto Porter guy could stay healthy, the Bulls might not be half bad. Seriously though, Porter does a little bit of everything and there is a reason he once signed the contract he did. I’m not saying he’s still worth the $28.5 million he’ll get next season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a nice bounceback from him soon enough. Remember, this guy shot 40 percent from both the field and downtown in each of the three seasons before this. He’s got game.


4th 6:32 – When a whistle is blown in Wendell Carter Jr.’s direction, he looks like a deer in headlights.

4th: 3:08 – Thaddeus Young hits the corner three more than you think.

4th 1:26 – The Bulls are SO bad at closing out games it hurts.


Final Buzzer Takeaway

All in all, this game was about White. With Zach LaVine sidelined due to injury, White got his first real taste of running the show. The rookie certainly had his blips, but he ultimately led his team to victory. White looked confident through most of the game, and although he missed his fair share of shots, I didn’t really have a problem with the ones he was taking.

I think this game might have been our best look at his basketball IQ as opposed to his natural talent. His first bucket of the game came on a great move where he split the defenders and stopped on a dime for a mid-range jumper. White noticed a towering Drummond ready to meet him at the rim, and while I wouldn’t mind seeing him try to draw the foul, he recognized the easy bucket and took it. Additionally, on the next play, he found himself in a mismatch with Drummond around the baseline. He backtracked and took Drummond out to the perimeter before making him dance and sinking the 3-pointer. On the next possession, White went over the top of Love to Carter Jr. to set up the easy layup on the fastbreak. White pushed the tempo, forcing his team to do the same, and made the Cavs pay.

White did have his 9 turnovers this game, but I’ll put my foot down and say at least three of them weren’t his fault. Some of his teammates had their heads down and butterfingers on. Still, six turnovers isn’t great, but I like to think White is normally pretty careful with the basketball, and the more he plays in that starting point guard role, the more he’ll learn how not to force things.

Rewatch Grade: B

His game wasn’t perfect, but this outing still provided us with plenty of reasons to be excited about Coby White as the point guard of the future. The tempo flipped to another gear, and (despite the turnovers) White felt like the Bulls most reliable player while he was on the court (which means a lot when you’re talking about a rookie). 

To go further, Carter Jr. and Markkanen both played a pretty solid game. Sure, Carter Jr. got into foul trouble and Markkanen shot too many 3-pointers, but it was nice to see them hold their own against Love and Drummond. Also, I don’t know if Harrison hauling in 10 rebounds is a good or bad thing … all I know is I had fun watching it.

Screenshot of the Game

You good, Lauri?

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.