Lauri Markkanen and Coby White are both former first-round picks of the Chicago Bulls. Both were selected with the seventh overall pick in their respective drafts and both have dealt with some sort of adversity since arriving here in Chicago.
Markkanen has been a starter since he arrived in 2017 and Coby White has started 36 games for the Bulls this year. After the Bulls made a blockbuster splash at the NBA trade deadline this year to acquire two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic, head coach Billy Donovan had to make a change.
Coby White moved back to the bench in March in favor of Tomas Satoransky, a more traditional point guard. Since the move, White’s overall numbers are obviously down, but he is finding his stride. In the last two games White has played, he has added a scoring surge off the bench. In the win against the Pacers, White scored 13 points while adding six assists, three rebounds, and shooting 55% from the field. In the Bulls’ blowout win against the Raptors, Coby scored 15 off the bench. It seems that he is becoming more comfortable in his role. He can come off the bench and be a scorer when he has to, or he can help the offense get into their sets.
Lauri Markkanen has been coming off the bench for the last five games and he hasn’t disappointed. In 21 minutes per game, he’s averaging 11.8 PPG and 4.4 RPG while shooting 62% from the field and 53% from downtown. Billy Donovan has been using Markkanen at the three while Daniel Theis plays the four and Vooch plays the five. This has been creating mismatches for Lauri to exploit. He’s been more aggressive getting to the rim and not just settling for three-point shots.
It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls are in the midst of a playoff push. The starting lineup has been meshing well over a recent three-game win streak. But what has been even more impressive bench finding its stride as well. Coby White and Lauri Markannen comprise a solid 1-2 punch off the bench. The complementary bench pieces surrounding them help bring out the best in their games. Troy Brown Jr. is an above-average wing-defender and Daniel Theis can hold it down in the paint. That allows White and Markkanen to do what they do best, score the rock.