Boylen opts to keep White in reserve role

  • Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham, right, drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls guard Coby White during the first half in Chicago Thursday.

    Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham, right, drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls guard Coby White during the first half in Chicago Thursday. Associated Press

Updated 2/20/2020 8:19 PM

Bulls coach Jim Boylen hasn't given in to the growing cries to start rookie Coby White. With a vacancy in the starting lineup Thursday, he used Ryan Arcidiacono against Charlotte.

"I'm going to keep him in the role he's in," Boylen said before the game. "As you've seen, his minutes have gone up. We'll keep developing him as a lead guard and a basketball player."


It may not be popular, but it's the right move. Throwing a young player on the court and saying whatever happens, happens is not how you develop players in the NBA. It's better to give White a starting role once he's proved he can handle it.

Derrick Rose was ready to start from Day 1. White is at a different stage in his development and has shown progress as a playmaker, with games of 9 and 7 assists before the all-star break.

"I've never put that point guard label on him," Boylen said. "I don't think it's the right thing to do. He can be a lead guard, he can handle the ball and he can play off the ball. A guy that can get hot like he gets hot and makes multiple 3s in a row, you probably should have him off the ball some.

"I want him to learn how to play in our system on the ball and off the ball. If he gets a rebound and wants to bring it as fast as he can, great. But sometimes you've got to slow down and let guys run with you. I want him to look at the floor, take a picture of the floor -- I call it a snapshot of what's going on -- and make good decisions. I think he's grown that way and I'm excited for him.

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White was the primary ballhandler when he entered the game midway through the first quarter on Thursday.

"What he's done is he's practiced at a higher level," Boylen added. "He does his pre-work, his post-work and during practice, he brings it. That's when guys start getting better."

Injury report stuck in park:

Asked which injured player will be the next to return, coach Jim Boylen was unsure.

"Man, that's a good question," he said. "I thought Otto (Porter) had two good days, we'll see. Wendell (Carter) did parts of practice both days. I'd be lying if I told you I knew."

The Bulls did get rookie center Daniel Gafford back Thursday, after he missed games with an ankle sprain and dislocated thumb before the break. Gafford, starter Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio all played in the first quarter.

Carter said before the game he's very close, but didn't want to make any predictions on a return. He said there's still dull, persistent pain in his injured right ankle.


Porter was out on the court during early warmups, while Boylen confirmed Chandler Hutchison could be out a little while with a recurrence of his shoulder injury.

"The shoulder took a hit (in the last game before the break)," Boylen said of Hutchison. "He's sore and he's hurting. He did not do anything the last two days. He's basically been off eight days and didn't have much improvement in his soreness and stiffness. I think to say he's day-to-day is probably a stretch."

No double duty:

The Windy City Bulls had an afternoon game on Thursday, so two-way player Adam Mokoka played in that and was inactive for the NBA Bulls. Mokoka scored 26 points in Windy City's win over Erie at the Sears Centre.


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