Since drafting Coby White back in 2019, the Chicago Bulls have seen his game develop on a pro-level with many ups and downs. Now with the 2021-2022 Bulls season finished, we can take a quick look at White’s last three years in Chicago and what lies ahead for the 22-year-old guard.
Coby White’s Arrival in Chicago
White’s rookie season wasn’t bad, as he averaged 13.2 points, 2.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds coming off the bench. In his second year, he started 54 games for the Bulls and averaged 15.1 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds. Seeing his numbers progress in his second year put forth some hope his development would continue heading into this third season.
When the Bulls signed Lonzo Ball last summer to a 4-year deal, it put White’s role into perspective. This season, Ball was able to bring his playmaking ability into the Bulls’ offense. When Ball went down with an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season, it left the door open at the starting point guard position. The duties were mostly shared by Alex Caruso, rookie Ayo Dosunmu and White. Caruso was hampered by injury most of the season, leaving Dosunmu and White with opportunities to shine for the Bulls.
2021-2022 NBA Playoffs
When the 2021-2022 NBA Playoffs came around, the Bulls found themselves with a huge need for someone to step up in the back court with Ball still out with his injury. The chance was still there for White. The results? 8.4 points, 1.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game — It wasn’t enough to make a difference for Chicago’s back court. The Bulls desperately needed White’s three-point shooting in the post-season and looking back at his performance, the outcome just wasn’t there.
Future and Free Agency for Coby White
When we take a look at some of the potential free agents out there, it’s also possible Chicago may pursue another option. There are several names out there this summer that could also fit the bill for the Bulls coming off the bench.
Some of the unrestricted free agent role-playing guards out there include Tyus Jones, Patty Mills, Jeremy Lamb, Ricky Rubio, Dennis Schroder, and Lonnie Walker.
There has been no indication Chicago intends to move him this summer; it is still too early to determine what Chicago plans to do with their group of guards next season. The eventual return of Ball and solid play coming from Dosunmu this past year puts playing time into question for White as he will also be heading into the final year of his contract with Chicago.
Should they keep Coby White?
There are several cases to be made for the Bulls to not keep White. His role throughout all these years has not been clearly defined, he has played both the spot-up shooter and point guard role for Chicago. Going into next season, it’s hard to see him as a better fit than the prospective free-agent shooters out there.
When taking a look at his career numbers since being drafted as the seventh pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, White’s averages all went down for the most part. His potential trade value across the league remains to be seen.
Instead, the Bulls could use another wing player instead of being so stacked heavily at the guard position. If Zach LaVine re-signs with Chicago, it further limits White’s playing time with Ayo Dosunmu blooming into his second year and Caruso returning from injury.
While it can be hard to see throughout the injuries this past year, Chicago has one of the strongest groups of guards in the league. The Bulls have a healthy mix of reputable veterans and youth in their backcourt which could take them places, however, they will likely need to make some big changes heading into next season.
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