One of the storylines Chicago Bulls fans were looking forward to this season was Coby White’s further development. In 2020-21, he was forced into a starting point guard role that didn’t work out. But White still possesses scoring talent, so the expectation was for him to come off the bench this year as a microwave scorer.
White typically scores in the mid-20s or high teens in points this season on 20 minutes of playing time. Because he’s not a solid defender, he has to offer that level of play offensively each night. After frequently meeting that offensive expectation in the first half of the year, White has been a black hole lately, only breaking into the teens once in the past five games.
Saturday’s loss to the Miami Heat exemplified why Coby White’s downfall has been an issue. For the visitors, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro combined for 8-14 from behind the three-point line. White tried to shoot the Bulls out of the valley they were in, but it just didn’t work out. He shot 0-9 from the field with an 0-7 mark from behind the three-point line.
The worst part about it? White was wide open for all his shots. That’s been the story the last five games, in which he has averaged 5.6 points on 22.6 minutes of play.
Salim from Bulls Gold found the above stats while digging through NBA.com. White’s defenders have been leaving him open since just after the All-Star break. Such scenarios cripple the Bulls’ offense because they allow an extra defender to double-team someone else, notably DeMar DeRozan.
White was averaging 14.0 PPG before the break but is now down to 9.7 PPG and sliding. With his lack of impactful contributions on the defensive end, he has just been a walking disadvantage. Looking at Saturday night’s numbers, he was a -11. That level of output is unacceptable with the playoffs only four games away. His minutes need to be dispersed elsewhere if these trends continue.
Coby White Isn’t Locked In
Coby White seemed to be indifferent regarding his poor play during Saturday’s postgame press conference.
“For me, it’s just continue to shoot. It doesn’t matter if I go 0-for-10 or if I go for 0-for-11. The bad thing would be if I stopped shooting, if stopped taking open shots,” said White.
In the middle of his media session, White paused giving answers during plays in North Carolina’s Final Four game. White should have faced the music following his pitiful two-point performance. Being more concerned about a college basketball game — even if it is his alma mater — while his current team is struggling in their NBA playoff push is not a good look. Figure in his on-court struggles, and it’s an incredibly bad visual.
Coby White endured years of hell under Jim Boylen upon entering the NBA. And now that he has the best winning opportunity of his career, he is throwing it away.
Now, it’s fine for White to keep taking open shots. But when seven attempts miss the target and it’s factored into the opponent’s game plan, something has to be done. Perhaps his time would have been better spent getting up shots after Saturday’s game than watching the Final Four, which has absolutely no bearing on the Chicago Bulls.
If White’s struggles continue, Billy Donovan must find someone more useful, such as Ayo Dosunmu, to take his minutes. White could be a key piece to the Chicago Bulls’ playoff push, but his continued woes could also tank their aspirations.
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