After returning from injury, Chicago Bulls' guard Coby White had an abysmal three games, shooting a combined 1-11 from the field. He warranted so much criticism that the idea of sending him to the G League gained traction among some Bulls' fans. But in last night’s 109-103 victory over the Knicks, White changed the narrative in the fourth quarter.
Through the first three quarters of the game, White scored just four points on 2-of-7 shooting. While it was a nudge in the right direction, it still did not live up to the expectations the Bulls have for him.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Bulls were down 74-72. The Knicks put together a few runs in the third quarter and got to the free-throw line more often than Chicago. Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball each picking up their fourth fouls didn't help matters for the Bulls. Additionally, Zach LaVine struggled from the field and was 5-for-18 overall and 0-for-5 from three-point range through the third quarter. The Bulls needed someone to step up.
That's when Coby White found his rhythm. He knocked down three of four shots from behind the arc for a quick nine points. Looking at his shot chart, White made an adjustment in the final frame. Instead of driving to the middle of the paint or playing off a screen on the elbow, he went to the corners.
With DeMar DeRozan on fire from mid-range, defenders were shading towards the middle of the floor. White's shot chart is similar to what Lonzo Ball has done all year with LaVine and DeRozan on the floor. This deployment helps spread the defense, giving the Bulls' backcourt easy opportunities to score. White should take notes from Ball, because DeRozan has used Ball’s corner three ability to punish teams all year.
If White can continue to adjust his play to this type of off-ball positioning, the league should be worried. White can get hot quickly and jumpstart a Bulls' run while one of the other guards rest. Monday night's game against the Pacers will be a true test of whether or not White is for real.