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Former Tar Heel Coby White on the rise with the Chicago Bulls

Is the Chicago Bulls guard poised for a bigger role?

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coby White arrived in Chapel Hill with the expectation he would be there for at least a couple seasons. However, his stellar play as a freshman propelled him into lottery pick territory, making his decision obvious. Of course, he still didn’t want to leave. After a conversation in which Coach Williams talked some sense into him, White ultimately became the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, taking his talents to Chicago.

White has spent each of his four seasons with the Bulls. Although there have been ups and downs, he’s largely improved every single season. As a rookie, White averaged 13.2 points, 2.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.7 turnovers per game while shooting 39.4% from the field, 35.4% from three, and 79.1% from the line. This year, he’s averaging 9.7 points, 2.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.0 turnovers a game while shooting 44.2% from the floor, 37.1% from three, and 87.1% from the free throw line.

Opportunities for playing time aren’t as abundant as when he first got to Chicago, but there’s no question that White has continued to refine his game. His efficiency has increased across the board, his turnovers have decreased, and he just looks more comfortable out there. White is an extremely hard worker, so it’s nice to see that reflected in the numbers, however subtle it may be.

As of late, White has really ramped up his play. Over the last ten games, he’s averaging 15.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 turnovers while shooting 52.2% from the field, 41.5% from three, and 100% from the stripe. The dude has been scorching the nets while showing that he can also run offense and create for his teammates. Given his exceptional play, could it be time for White to take the next step in his career?

White has been a starter before (he actually started 54 games in his second season), but he is yet to be handed the proverbial keys. Because of his commitment to getting better in the offseason, White is on the cusp of earning that type of role. His offensive potential has always been there, but Billy Donovan points to White’s defense as a big reason for his rise. Once considered a liability defensively, he’s now making plays on that side of the ball and impacting the team positively.

With the Bulls locked in to the 10 seed and set to face the Toronto Raptors in the play-in game, it will be interesting to see White’s usage the rest of this season and beyond. Fresh off a 24-point, 11-assist performance (10-17 shooting), he’s poised to play a significant role in the Bulls’ playoff push. If White can help the Bulls make some noise, it could do wonders for his future with the organization, especially considering the question marks surrounding Lonzo Ball.

Regardless, White has proven that not only does he belong in this league, he can thrive. If for whatever the reason the Bulls look to move on next season, there should be no shortage of suitors. At just 23 years of age, White is only getting started, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.