Chicago Bulls seem to have a scheme where rookie White can thrive
Rookie Coby White arrived at Chicago Bulls training camp with a mandate to play fast.
He got the same instructions during his lone season at North Carolina. Whether he's ready to contribute this season remains to be seen, but the versatile 6-foot-5 guard has embraced his role.
"The main thing that fits me is (coach Jim Boylen) wants to run," White said. "The faster I get down the court, the faster you get into your offensive possession. I love to run. Whether I've got the ball in my hands or not, if you run and get in transition, it creates more scoring opportunities for you."
White should be a good fit for Boylen's offensive plan of using multiple ballhandlers. The theory is, if Zach LaVine, Otto Porter or Lauri Markkanen get a rebound, they're free to take off down the court and try to get the defense on its heels. They don't have to get the ball to a point guard.
That plan makes sense for White, since his history has been more of a scorer than playmaker. If he's got the ball, he can use his speed to push the pace. If not, he can set up for a 3-point shot or be ready to attack the basket.
White did not shoot it well from 3-point range in the Las Vegas summer league. He connected on 35.3 percent from the college 3-point line last year at North Carolina.
"He's been really good," Boylen said. "What I've been impressed with is his maturity level on the floor and how quickly he can kind of pick up things and grow. I don't see that as an issue, his commitment to run off the ball. He's pretty darn good on the ball, too."
Boylen paid White an unexpected compliment this week by praising his physicality in practice. White is 19 and listed at 185 pounds, so physical toughness didn't figure to be a strong suit right away.
While splitting time between point and shooting guard, White is getting some good competition from veterans Kris Dunn, Tomas Satoransky, Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaq Harrison.
"Kris is super strong and super physical, gets the job done," White said. "If you don't play physical against him, he's going to take the ball from you. So you've got to, too. Since I've been in high school, I liked contact.
"In high school, it's how I played -- creating contact and getting to the rim. When I started my career in high school, I wasn't really a shooter. I was a get downhill type of guy. Then I developed my shot. It's something I've been doing a long time."
In theory, Boylen can choose his guards the way a car collector might decide which vehicle to pull out of the garage. The Bulls have players with a variety of skills, strengths and experience. The playing rotation will work itself out as the preseason progresses.
The most likely scenario at this point figures to be Satoransky starting, with Dunn and White playing together on the second unit. But it's all a work in progress.
Dunn talked recently about White's performance in practice.
"He can shoot the ball," Dunn said. "He's working on his decision making. He's doing a great job with that right now. And guarding, I think he's going to be big time for us.
"Me, Arch, Satoransky, we're trying to do a good job of, not showing him the ropes, but kind of teaching the things that people taught us. I think Thad (Young) is doing a good job of talking to him, too. I think going against each other is just going to make us better."
Fans will get their first chance to watch the guards compete against outside competition Monday when the Bulls host Milwaukee in the preseason opener.
"The guard play has been fun to watch and competitive," Boylen said. "Respectful, but very competitive. I think it's really added to the spirit of our team, of making each other better, growing as a group, building a team. It's been great for us."
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