By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
There’s not much that we know at the moment about the Chicago Bulls’ latest first round pick, Coby White.
Some obvious things stand out and can be assumed even by the least knowledgeable Bulls fans — for one, White is a very good basketball player who comes from a very elite college basketball program (the University of North Carolina) and as the No. 7 pick overall in this year’s draft there’s going to be high expectations associated with his debut season in the NBA.
More that should be known about White: he loves the WNBA and following Chicago’s WNBA team has been a consistent past time of his as he’s gotten to know his new home.
Also, as as far has expectations go, none are greater than the ones the skinny kid with the easily recognizable hair is carrying for himself and his young Bulls squad.
White attended the Dallas Wings game against the Chicago Sky game last Friday night at Wintrust Arena, adding to the summer wave perpetuated by NBA stars PJ Tucker, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others to support the WNBA and its players.
Like the NBA players, less notable basketball fans that follow the WNBA and have a host of reasons to rejoice over the current season and future, which has seen some of the league’s most evenly-competitive ball playing in quite a while.
In Chicago there’s been an outright revival of fortunes the Sky have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since trading former franchise player Elena Delle Donne in 2016. While catching the live action, White highlighted the importance of supporting the WNBA, along with his overall experience of attending Sky games.
“[Supporting the Sky] is really big,” White told me after the Chicago Sky game. “This is my second game since I’ve been here [in Chicago]. I wanted to catch more games but I’ve been in and out at different places. It is a cool atmosphere. I love WNBA so coming to these games is a great experience for me. It’s probably one of the most fun things to do.”
When not supporting the Sky, White has tended to a busy off-season. Along with recently signing a multi-year shoe deal with Adidas — a shoe brand that already features Chicago representation with former Chicago Bull and Simeon Academy phenom Derrick Rose and current Bulls teammate Zach LaVine — White has also has been seen doing summer workouts with his teammates, especially Lauri Markkenan.
When it comes expectations for this season, White expressed his excitement to play and how he looks to set the tone behind the Bulls’ upcoming efforts.
“[This season] is a huge excitement for us,” White said. “We added some new pieces this year with me, Daniel [Gafford], Thad [Young], Tomas [Satoransky] and Luke [Kornet]. This season should be exciting and we’re looking to make a playoff run.”
Coby White’s Journey To The NBA (ClutchPoints)
The Bulls made a concerted effort to build on the rebuilding foundation that they officially laid down in 2017 when the Jimmy Butler draft night trade turned the team’s near future fortunes around completely.
After the past two seasons of ups and downs filled with injuries, constant pressure and coaching changes, Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president of Basketball Operations John Paxson made it a priority this season to continue developing the young talent but also add veteran players to shift the culture within the locker room.
Adding a potentially hot-shot rook like White to the mix of acquisitions could potentially be adding the missing piece that the Bulls need to finally signal long-term success. White has the ability to create his own shot and score the ball at will, necessary assets that the Bulls lacked last season when they needed players other than LaVine to score, specifically in late-quarter, shot clock and game situations.
Cody Westerlund, online editor of 670 The Score, believes that White can aid the Bulls in shooting the three point shot as well as pushing the pace, especially in transition.
“For however many minutes he earns as a rookie, [White] can use all of them to get the ball up the court quickly in transition,” Westerlund told WARR Media.
“The Bulls ranked 20th in pace last season. White was one of the fastest players in all of college basketball with the ball in his hands, so that’s the logical route for how he can contribute. The Bulls need more 3-point shooting too, so I could see him helping in that way. He has a smooth release.”
White could definitely be impactful early, but playing point guard in the NBA is a very difficult position to learn and it takes time for players to develop in that position. For this reason, the Bulls signed Satoransky to a three-year deal with the last deal being partially guaranteed.
Westerlund highlights the importance of Bulls fans understanding this and to be patient with the rookie’s development, he sees White being an instant offensive specialist as a reserve with the hope that within the next couple years White can be the team’s full-time point guard.
“The Bulls want to take a big competitive step this season, and you can’t do that unless you hand out the large majority of playing time on merit and to the players who put you in the best position to win each night,” Westerlund said.
“I see White being in the rotation as a reserve who can provide some instant offense as a rookie.”
White averaged 16 points and 4 assists while shooting 42 percent from the field, 35% from the three-point line and 80% from the free throw line as a Tar Heel. He was also part of the ACC All-Freshman, All-ACC and All-ACC Tournament achievements and a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament during his tenure under legendary college coach Roy Williams.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media