Let’s go ahead and get the obvious out of the way: the NBA Draft cannot be trusted when it comes to which players end up on what team after they are drafted. Unlike other leagues, teams are allowed to draft players and awkwardly hand them a hat with their logo on it, only to immediately trade the player to another team. So, with that in mind, what’s about to be said is not by any means set in stone, especially considering the team that this situation revolves around. Just remember, you’ve been warned.
Yesterday afternoon, former UNC player Coby White left the NBA Draft Combine without going through any drills/workouts. It was announced that before he left, however, he did speak with a few teams.
Projected high lottery pick Coby White of UNC has left the NBA Draft Combine, interviewing for some teams before departing, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 17, 2019
As of the time of writing, it is unclear exactly which teams Coby White spoke with prior to leaving Chicago. However, fans/media members of a particular team are convinced that they will land the Goldsboro native, and that team is the Chicago Bulls.
Before diving too deep in this, let’s back up and point out a crucial piece to this puzzle — former Vanderbilt player Darius Garland is another player that did not go through workouts during the NBA Combine. Garland and White are considered to be high on the Bulls’ list because of their desperate need for a point guard. Garland’s situation, however, is one that is a bit interesting, because rumor has it that he has possibly gotten confirmation from the Phoenix Suns that they are drafting him with the sixth overall pick.
Draft buzz: Some belief among NBA teams that Darius Garland left the combine with a promise from the Phoenix Suns— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) May 16, 2019
If this rumor holds to be true, it is extremely likely that we will see Coby White making his way to the house that Michael Jordan built for the start of his professional career. President of Basketball Operations for the Bulls John Paxson stated in a recent interview that they are looking to draft with the purpose of need in mind, and what they need desperately right now is a point guard that will be able to make up for the struggles of former Providence player Kris Dunn. White would be a strong addition to a team that already has strong pieces in Zach Lavine and Otto Porter Jr., and some potentially strong pieces in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
Now, here’s the problem: the Chicago Bulls are a catastrophe of an organization right now, with constant missteps coming from the two-headed monster of John Paxson and Gar Forman. Following the firing of newly-appointed Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg, they made former Bulls assistant coach Jim Boylan head coach, and it led to the team having their worst season in franchise history. To be completely fair, every key player on the team ended up on the injury list throughout the season, with some of them missing massive amounts of time. This is likely why the Bulls decided to give Boylan an extension rather than taking their time to find a new head coach over the summer, which has become an incredibly frustrating situation for Bulls fans.
As Carolina fans, you may be asking yourselves: “Why does any of this matter at all? The best NBA prospects always go to the worst teams, how is this any different?” The answer is simple: all signs point to the Chicago Bulls drafting Coby White, but this organization has proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted. Example: when Paxson made his comments about the need a point guard, he also stated that need “could” take precedent over talent when it came to whoever he drafted. This leaves the door wide open for picks such as Cameron Reddish and Jarrett Culver to ensue, despite the argument that could be made that Coby White is clearly the best combination of need and talent that they could possibly get.
The other issue is that the Bulls are rumored to be shopping their number seven overall pick:
The Chicago Bulls have let NBA teams know they’re aggressively shopping the 7th overall pick, per 670 The Score.— Erick Montoya (@TheAssistHoops) May 15, 2019
If the Bulls do choose to keep the pick, they’re interested in names such as Coby White, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver and Cam Reddish, per Chicago Tribune. pic.twitter.com/0N35qscXiy
If there is any truth to this, it could be that Coby White is “drafted” to the Bulls, but end up elsewhere in the NBA. From there it’d become a double-edged sword, because White could end up in a much better situation from an immediate playoff contender standpoint (assuming the trade comes from one of the better teams in the league), but could get drowned on the roster à la Brice Johnson. However, playing for the Bulls would mean he’d likely get a lot of playing time, but would also would have to deal with the chaos that is the current state of the organization. One could argue, though, that any team that is drafting in the top ten has similar problems, so maybe that is the proper way of looking at things?
Coby White becoming a member of the Chicago Bulls from a surface-level perspective would be amazing considering the fact that he would be joining the team that Michael Jordan had his legendary career with. It would be something if he is the piece that the team has been missing all along, and helps them find a way to get them back into the playoffs down the road.
What we do have to keep in mind, though, is that projections are still projections, and it could be that White ends up being drafted by a completely different team. More importantly, White could be drafted higher than his current projection if his workouts/interviews for individual teams go really well, and so it will be a fun situation to keep an eye on over the next month.