Bulls win featured White’s best ever, Dosunmu’s historic month

At quick glance, the Bulls' fourth straight victory over Charlotte on Wednesday was a winnable game that needed to land in the victory column. But there's more to it.

Carolina Coby

Coby White is from the other side of North Carolina, but the game still counts as a memorable homecoming. This was arguably White's best performance as an NBA player, with 35 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and a career-high 9 free-throw attempts.

It was an interesting contrast to Tuesday's home loss to Toronto. White picked up 2 early fouls and had to take a seat. In the second half when the game was slipping away, he seemed ready to take over, scoring multiple baskets with ease. But then he stopped shooting and the Bulls lost. Clearly, he needed to force the issue a little more.

“I feel like I wasn't as aggressive (against Toronto) as I should have been,” White said in Charlotte. “Obviously, the biggest thing is winning and losing, and the loss kind of ticked me off because down the stretch, it was a winnable game for us.”

Again, no matter how it turns out, this season will be a net positive for the Bulls because of White's improvement. This is like signing an all-star free agent during the summer. White could be on a similar path as New York's Jalen Brunson, who continues to exceed expectations and push the Knicks forward in the standings.

The next step for White is continuing to pursue NBA alpha status. That means both taking command of the offense in fourth quarters and Bulls teammates allowing him to grow into that role.

January milestone

While White finished January with a great game, Ayo Dosunmu made monthly franchise history. His overall numbers in January weren't eye-popping at 12.9 points and 2.7 assists, but his shooting stood out — 53.6% overall, 46.2% from 3 and 90.9% from the foul line.

According to Elias Sports, Dosunmu is the fourth player in Bulls history to pull off a 50/40/90 month, joining Doug McDermott, Steve Kerr and B.J. Armstrong, who did it twice.

While White's improvement could theoretically alter the course of the franchise, Dosunmu has stepped forward as a solid starting option. Over the last nine games, he's averaged 15.6 points and shot 60% from the field. Igniting the fast break has been a particular strength.

Stretch run

There's one week to go before the NBA trade deadline. Knock the Bulls all you want for their lack of trade action, but in general, the players with any sort of trade value are the ones the Bulls want to keep.

Never say never when it comes to dealing unhappy NBA stars, but at this point, there appears to be very little chance of a Zach LaVine deal. Currently out with an ankle injury, he wasn't with the team this week and Billy Donovan has no idea when LaVine might return.

It's tough to imagine any team deciding LaVine can make it a winner, since he's played in just one playoff series. The Lakers could conceivably make sense, because they'll need someone to pair with Anthony Davis if LeBron James ever retires. But let's face it, if the Lakers felt good about taking on the $130 million left on LaVine's contract, it would have happened by now.

The more likely scenario is LaVine eventually returns and the Bulls make their pitch: “Look, we know you make $40 million and White makes $11 million. But he's our best player now, so get him the ball.”

Maybe it will work.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.