As we get closer and closer to the NBA Draft, players that have decided to stay in the draft pool will go through many workouts and interviews for various teams around the league. For college basketball fans, some of us are very familiar with the players that could potentially land with each team. However, for those fans that don’t pay much attention to college basketball outside of the NCAA Tournament, it’s hard to keep up with the various names floating around, much less what each player can do. For those fans there’s good news (if your team is talking to a former UNC player): we have you covered.
Starting today, we will take a look at each of the big three NBA prospects coming out of the University of North Carolina. We will take a look at each player’s measurements, strengths, weaknesses, what we can expect from them their rookie season, and which teams are reportedly in the mix to draft them. To start things off, let’s take a look at the star freshman of this past season, Coby White.
Height w/ shoes: 6’4 1⁄3
Height w/o shoes: 6’3 1⁄2
Weight: 191.4 lbs
Body Fat: 4.3%
Prior to his freshman year at UNC, Coby White gained a lot of buzz for what he was able to do during his high school career. He broke the North Carolina state high school scoring record during his final season at Greenfield, scoring 3,573 points total. During his only year with the Tar Heels, White continued to have strong success shooting the ball, averaging 16.1 points per game, which was the second-highest average on the team. His total was also the second highest, finishing the season with 562 points, which was 46 points shy of fellow NBA Draft prospect Cameron Johnson.
His two best attributes on offense are his ability to get to the rim and his ability to catch and shoot. Never afraid of contact, White found ways to cut through the lanes and get layups— with the occasional dunk if he had the right matchup — at the rim. One of his biggest tasks coming out of high school was figuring out how to change speeds to throw off his defenders, and he started to figure it out a bit near the end of the 2019 season. He still has to work on this part of his game, but there’s no doubt that he will be able to get what he wants at the next level considering how much defenders have to respect him from the perimeter.
In regards to his ability to catch and shoot, this was the most dangerous tool in his arsenal. Whenever he was able to get an open look at the basket off the ball, White made scoring look way too easy. What makes him even more dangerous as a NBA prospect is how often he shot his three-pointers from NBA distance — out of his 73 attempts, White knocked down 42.5% of his shots from deep. When it comes to shooting, White may be as polished a prospect as there is in the entire draft.
Finally, White’s speed was something that was really fun to watch this past season. As mentioned earlier, he’s had to learn how to shift into different gears in order to beat his man, but this is one player that will have no problems adjusting to the speed of the NBA. During the first 5-6 games of his freshman year, White played way faster than his teammates, which was an adjustment for everyone. Roy Williams has always had a “fast isn’t fast enough” mentality, and White was one of the closest that he has ever seen to living up to his standards. If there’s a foot race down the court, expect White to be one of the first ones to make it to the other end.
One of White’s biggest struggles from his time at UNC was his battle with turnovers. While he finished the season with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, his turnovers were plentiful in various games throughout the season. It is definitely one of those “make of this what you will” issues in White’s game, as he did tend to play faster than his teammates at times as mentioned above. However, there’s no doubt that decision making was also lacking at times, but he made strides throughout the season to rectify those issues. Lanes should widen up for him given the spacing of the NBA, but things will also be faster at the pro level as well, and so it will be interesting to see if he does better or worse in this regard.
Another area of concern for Coby would be how he is able to defend elite point guards in the NBA. During the last half of his college career, White took considerably large steps in improving his defensive skills, and won defensive player of the game with the Heels multiple times. His ability to defend has required a lot of work, and it may be that some of the tougher assignments in the pros give him some trouble. The best argument as to why this may not be a huge issue was made by SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell, who pointed out on the Cash Considerations Podcast that the point guard position is turning into a virtually unguardable position of sorts with the high level of play in that position. He probably won’t be the best defender on the floor, but he will at least give a high level of effort to shut down his man.
Given the current projections for White, he could be an immediate starter for whichever team drafts him. Right now the teams that are tied to his name are the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Chicago Bulls. In terms of pure need, of the teams mentioned nobody needs a point guard more than the Suns and the Bulls. Should he land on either team, we should expect him to compete for a starting spot on day one. Should he get drafted by the Lakers or the Cavaliers, it will be interesting to see if he is used as a backup point guard or if there is some movement on either roster, particularly the Lakers. There are some rumors about Lonzo Ball’s future in LA, but as of right now they are just that.
Regardless of what team drafts him, Coby White should be a welcome addition to the NBA. He is a scoring machine, loves to play fast, and has the type of killer instinct that any team would love. He may experience similar growing pains to what he experienced while playing for the Tar Heels, but in the long run he has the potential to to make some noise at the next level.