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Coby White to (finally) start for the Chicago Bulls

A failing season and plenty of injuries gives the former Tar Heel the opportunity he deserves.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

After completing 64 games of the NBA season, the Chicago Bulls have finally decided to give their rookie guard the green light. Yesterday afternoon the team announced that former Tar Heel Coby White will be in the starting lineup when the team takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

White’s start to his NBA career has been one of many trials and tribulations from both an intrinsic and extrinsic perspective. Intrinsically, he struggled for most of the season to get his shot to fall at a similar clip that he was able to get it to fall at during his time at Carolina. Extrinsically, the Bulls have been a train wreck on a coaching and organizational level, and it’s been hard for many players outside of Zach Lavine to find any consistent success. This changed, however, on February 22nd against the Phoenix Suns, when White exploded for 33 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. What’s happened since then? A lot of really, really good things:

Throughout this eight-game span, Zach Lavine has been the only player to have a higher output than Coby White on the team. Why then, did it take this long for him to earn the starting nod? The short answer is that head coach Jim Boylen waited for Lavine, Kris Dunn, and Ryan Arcidiacono to get injured, and even then former G-League player Shaq Harrison was plugged into the hole that Lavine Left behind. The irony in all of this is that after the Bulls refused to accept White as a point guard, he will start at point guard over veteran point guard Tomas Satoransky.

After reaching a 21-43 record for the season, it’s likely that the idea behind White starting is to focus more on development than on wins. Ironically starting him just may help them pick up a win or two more than they would have otherwise, but they would still need Lavine to return to the lineup in order to do an optimum amount of damage against the rest of their schedule. Still, it’s awesome to see White finally get the opportunity to start an NBA game, and it’s even better knowing that he’s starting at the one position that many people questioned his ability to succeed at. For the record, in his last game White recorded 8 assists and zero turnovers. I think he’ll be just fine.

It’s always exciting to see a former Tar Heel take big steps forward in the NBA, and seeing Coby White get such a big opportunity is no exception. Here’s hoping that things only get better for him from here, and that by this time next season we’ll see him become a big-time player for the Chicago Bulls.