Chicago Bulls coach Boylen doesn't hold back on expectations for White

  • Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comThe Chicago Bulls top two picks from the NBA draft, Daniel Gafford, left, and Coby White, right, at the Advocate Center in Chicago on Monday.

    Bev Horne/bhorne@dailyherald.comThe Chicago Bulls top two picks from the NBA draft, Daniel Gafford, left, and Coby White, right, at the Advocate Center in Chicago on Monday.

Updated 6/24/2019 11:01 PM

With rookie point guard Coby White on board, Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen promised to set the treadmill to a high speed.

It's too soon to know if White will be starting, coming off the bench, biding his time or sitting out with an injury when next season begins. But Boylen didn't hesitate to give White a debatable title.


"That was part of our meeting we had," Boylen said Monday at the Advocate Center. "How do we use his strengths of being able to push the ball and get the ball over the timeline as fast as anybody, I think, in the league right now?"

Fastest point guard in the NBA? Already? Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox and a few others might debate that statement, but we'll find out eventually.

Both Boylen and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson pointed out that 1-on-4 fastbreaks aren't very effective. If White can push the pace to new levels, he will need teammates to keep up.

"We have to run with him. We want to play faster," Boylen said. "We want to play smart, but we want to play faster when it's appropriate. He's a guy that can make decisions on the move. We've got to get the rest of our team to run with him. That's going to be our job, and I'm excited for that."

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The Bulls officially introduced their two draft picks, White and second-rounder Daniel Gafford, a 6-foot-11 center from Arkansas. Gafford wasted no time volunteering to run alongside White.

"People say I run like a deer, so I'm just going to keep that in mind whenever I'm on the court," Gafford said.

So it sounds like the Bulls are ready to hand White the keys to the offense, so to speak, even though Kris Dunn remains under contract and on the roster. If Boylen sticks with last season's plan, the burden of running the show won't fall on White entirely.

The Bulls' best stretch on offense involved using multiple ballhandlers. Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen are expected to have a green light to bring the ball downcourt when they get a defensive rebound.

With four rebuilding blocks already in place between LaVine, Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr., a rookie point guard isn't necessarily the ideal finishing piece. The plan may be revised during free agency.


"At Carolina, coaches kind of wanted me to really just go one speed, and that's fast all the time," White said. "I think coming into the league, I can use my change of speed and change of pace better. I've been trying to work on that a lot."

White could be considered an overachiever by recent NBA draft standards. Coming out of high school, the native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was ranked the 25th best player in the country by 24/7 Sports, then was drafted No. 7 overall last Thursday and was the fourth college freshman selected.

"All I can tell you is (Bulls general manager) Gar (Forman) saw Coby play out in Las Vegas early in the year and my phone was blowing up with texts from Gar," Paxson said. "That was the moment he was on the radar, for sure."

In those Las Vegas games, White scored 33 points against Texas and 19 against UCLA, while hitting 11 of 17 shots from 3-point range.

"Young guys are young guys. They're not finished products," Paxson said. "The first time he played at Duke, he kind of struggled. He talked about it when we did our background that he wasn't going to have that happen again, and the next two times he played Duke he had really good games and learned from it."

If next season is anything like the last two for the Bulls, White will be overwhelmed with learning opportunities.

"I'm glad they drafted me," he said. "My goal is to win; I'm all about winning. All the individual awards, that's going to come, but my main goal is to come here and win."

Individual awards are coming? That line doesn't match Derrick Rose's "Why can't I be MVP?" But White does sound confident.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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