A New Hope in Chicago, Coby White: Point Guard Extraordinaire, LaVine's Balanced Attack, and Other Bulls Bullets

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A New Hope in Chicago, Coby White: Point Guard Extraordinaire, LaVine’s Balanced Attack, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Last night’s Bulls team gave me hope. I know it’s only the second preseason game, but that was some promising basketball, right? The style of play looked like it fit this team’s personnel, and despite two 20-point performances from LaVine and White, the team appeared far more focused on sharing the basketball.

If the group continues this against Oklahoma City, I’m going to feel that much better about entering a tough stretch to start the season. I still don’t expect them to come out on top of the win-column of their first 12 games, but perhaps there is a chance they can compete even better than expected. And, at this point, that’s more than enough for me.

•   Coby White is a point guard. Is that sentence written prematurely? Hell yes. But I’ve always been one to believe White has what it takes to play the lead guard role effectively, and we saw that on display last night. With 20 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds in 32 minutes of action, White played a large role in leading this young Bulls team to their first preseason victory. He may have had four turnovers to his name, but the second-year guard found a far better balance of scoring and distributing only two nights after his first (somewhat underwhelming) preseason performance. If anything, last night was a reminder that White deserves a legitimate shot at proving he can be the player this team needs. The regular season will be the true test, but there is growing room for optimism.

•   White said he wants to score at a far more efficient rate, and he certainly is off to a solid start in that category this preseason. In both games, he has now shot over 50 percent from behind the arc and just under 50 from the field. He has benefitted from some open 3-point attempts, but that’s in large part thanks to his awareness off the ball. What the highlights above really demonstrate, however, is his crafty facilitating. His feed to Markkanen in the paint and his bounce-pass find to Carter Jr. off the pick-and-roll stand out as the best examples, thus far, of his improved court vision. One of the bigger concerns about White as a lead guard is that he may have tunnel vision at times as he reverts to a score-first mentality. However, passes like those represent a step in the right direction, as he’s able to hesitate slightly and quickly read the situation before making a judgment call. I’m sure the coaching staff and front office were relieved to see this performance.

•   White, on the other hand, gave last night’s game only a 5.56 out of 10 (uh, very specific number).

•   As White took a step in the right direction, Markkanen stayed put. The big man only shot 1-10 from the field last night, including an 0-5 performance from downtown. All things considered, you expect more from a guy trying to earn a contract extension, but the stats don’t exactly tell the whole story. While he didn’t execute on the offensive end, he still looked far more mobile and aggressive than last season. One of the most annoying things about the 2019-20 campaign was the big man’s drop in rebounding – a category where the Bulls really struggled. However, last night he snagged 7 boards, 3 of which came on the offensive end. Markkanen is talented enough to make a positive impact even when it isn’t his night offensively, and last night served as solid example of that. For more on what he and Donovan had to say about Game 2, check out NBC Sports Chicago’s latest.

•   Carter Jr. hit his first 3-pointer of the preseason last night. Rumor has it he’ll never miss again.

•   If LaVine can string together a handful of performances like last night in a winning effort, there is little doubt you’re looking at an All-Star.

•   The rookie had himself another encouraging game. If he keeps this up, will Donovan give him an even bigger role in the rotation to start the season? Hard to say with Thaddeus Young on his way back and Chandler Hutchison also playing solid ball, but we’ll see.

•   Williams has now been one of the few players to finish with a positive +/- over the Bulls first two preseason matchups. He has a long way to go, but it’s great news that he is rarely hurting the team when on the court.


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Author: Elias Schuster

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