As Bulls seek scoring help, White's return could be a boost

Toronto's Pascal Siakam had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder the first week of June and returned to game action Sunday.

Bulls guard Coby White had the same injury and same surgery on June 10. So he is likely getting close to his own return.

How much of a boost can White give the Bulls? Well, it's impossible to say since the third-year guard had his summer of basketball workouts wiped out by the injury.

But they could certainly use some scoring off the bench. Heading into Sunday's action, the Bulls ranked last in bench points with 23.8 per game, according to

The Bulls also rank last in the league in both 3-pointers made and attempted. That's not a great trend, considering how the NBA has become 3-point dominant.

Through the first nine games, the Bulls have had seven instances of a reserve scoring in double figures. Five different players have done it and one of them, Javonte Green, is now in the starting lineup after Patrick Williams' wrist injury.

The high game for a Bulls bench player is 14 points by rookie Ayo Dosunmu in Boston on Monday, which helped lead the Bulls to an impressive comeback victory. Derrick Jones Jr. scored 12 in Saturday's loss to Philadelphia.

Even with the consecutive losses to the 76ers, the Bulls are off to a nice start at 6-3. A home date with the Brooklyn Nets awaits Monday.

Maybe it's unfair to pick on the Bulls' flaws, but some of the problems Philadelphia exploited this week are bound to return. One obvious concern is more scoring to support DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

As of Sunday morning, DeRozan (26.8 points) and LaVine (26.4) ranked No. 4 and 5 on the NBA scoring list. The only other set of teammates in the top 20 were Boston's Jaylen Brown (eighth) and Jayson Tatum (16th).

Meanwhile, center Nikola Vucevic averaged 23.4 points last season between the Bulls and Orlando. This year, he's still trying to figure out chemistry with the new roster and averaging just 13.4 points, while shooting 25.6% from 3-point range.

Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso do a variety of things well, and have been an important part of the Bulls' fast start with their defense. But neither player is a great scorer.

Since Williams will be sidelined for most of the season, if not all of it, the choices for a Bulls complementary scorer seem limited to a more efficient Vucevic or a healthy White, who figures to step into Dosunmu's spot in the rotation.

At the end of Friday's practice White was playing 3-on-3 against player development staff, the first time he's played against actual competition since the surgery, though the staff members knew to be careful with him. During training camp White was doing shooting and dribbling on his own, with some pads serving as defenders.

Last season White averaged 15.1 points while serving as the starting point guard most of the time. Scoring threat off the bench is a role he played as a rookie and he finished that season strong.

Jones gave the Bulls a nice lift Saturday with his defense and athleticism, but he's a career 29% shooter from 3-point range. Coach Billy Donovan could go back to Troy Brown Jr., who's shot 33% from 3 during his career, but has been improving.

This week alone, the Bulls will face Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Steph Curry. The path to proving the Bulls are actually back will be a challenge.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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