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Coby White Has Hit His Stride

Since returning from the COVID list, Coby White has shown improvement in several aspects of his game.

Coby White Bulls
Photo: ChicagoBulls/Twitter

Coby has seemed to have found his confidence in his new role for the Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls this season have been absolutely unbelievable. The last 11 games have been fruitful with a record of 10-1, and Chicago’s overall record is at 27-11 (first in the East). The Bulls have continued to prove some of the doubters wrong, which has been a trend for this year’s team.

Take a look at the fit of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, the win total of the Bulls to start the season, and how well they have played defensively. These were just a few areas that raised questions about potential struggles before the season began. So, it’s quite fitting that Coby White has played probably the best ball of his young career since returning from COVID-19.

White’s initial return to the lineup occurred when he finally completed rehabbing from a torn labrum in his shoulder. That injury led to him not being able to play or work on his craft at all in the summer. When he struggled early in his return, many fans called for the Bulls to send him to the G-league. In his first nine games back on the court, White only averaged 6.1 PTS, 2.3 REB, and 1.3 AST on 40% true shooting in 17 minutes a night. Not only did he start slow, it was soon compounded with a trip to the COVID list.

Since returning from his time in the NBA’s health and safety protocols (11 games), the 6-foot-4 combo guard out of North Carolina has flourished. He has averaged 15.9 PTS, 3.3AST, and 2.5REB on 70% true shooting in 30 minutes a night. He has found ways to affect winning recently, including shooting the rock, attacking close-outs, and playmaking for teammates. Let’s talk about it!

Catch-and-Shoot Extraordinaire

When Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic are on the floor, they require aid from floor spacers. There is no doubt that Coby White is now showing more consistency in the floor spacing department. He displayed how dynamic he could be as a catch-and-shoot threat by knocking down 36.3% on three-pointers last season.

In eight November games this season, 36.5% of White’s shots came in catch-and-shoot situations (2.6 attempts). He shot an underwhelming 21% on those attempts. In his past 11 games, he has shot a scorching 44.4% from three in catch-and-shoot fashion (4.5 attempts per game). This development is crucial regarding White’s ability to be on the floor with the likes of DeRozan and LaVine as the lead ballhandlers.

Additionally, when dumping the ball down to Vucevic in the post, White spaces the floor for him as well by being a shooting threat. Opposing teams at some point will have to choose to send a double toward Vucevic. If that team chooses to send help with a dig from White’s defender, well let’s just say that it will probably be a made shot. He has been lights out. Lets take a look at some of the examples below:

Coby catch-and-shoot

Downhill Attack

When watching Coby White recently, his playmaking pops. He is leveraging his shooting ability by attacking aggressive close-outs and attacking downhill. White is also making the right passing reads consistently. For instance, he is getting paint touches and finding teammates for assists or hockey assists.

This not only is a great development for his confidence, but it’s also great to know the Bulls have a young player developing into a net-positive. White is driving to the basket 7.5 times a game (according to NBA.com) and has a passing percentage on those drives of 41%.

Finishing at the Rim

If Coby White is one pass away from an attacking DeMar DeRozan or Zach Lavine, there will be a chance to attack off-the-catch. Even when there is a skip to White from across the court, there will be an aggressive closeout to him because of the threat of leaving him open.

White has made a concerted effort to play smarter and make the right read when attacking, whether that is getting to the basket and finishing or attacking and drawing a help defender. The 2019 first-round pick is enjoying a career-best rim finish percentage of 62%. His career average at the rim is 54%! This ascension is key to his game, because as a shooter teams will be more cognizant of his whereabouts on the floor. This means that he has to be able to attack close-outs and finish at the rim more efficiently, which he has done thus far.

Coby finishing at the rim

The Bottom Line

As the Chicago Bulls look to continue the success they’ve had through 38 games, the emergence of White’s development is welcomed with open arms. The question of whether or not he can continue these great numbers is valid, but it’s worth noting the other skills he has improved upon.

The new and improved Coby White is something to be excited about, and not something to be pessimistic about. Coby has hit his stride!

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