Rookie White finishes preseason on scoring spree
When Bulls first-round draft pick Coby White shot an even 10 percent from 3-point range during the Las Vegas summer league, it seemed to be a clear warning that expectations needed to stay low.
But White has turned it back up during preseason. He'd already been shooting the ball well, then erupted for 29 points in Thursday's preseason finale, a 111-93 victory over Atlanta at the United Center. The Bulls ended the preseason with a 2-3 record and start playing for real next Wednesday in Charlotte.
White hit 10 of 14 shots overall and went 6-for-8 from 3-point land. Zach LaVine had his usual efficient scoring night, finishing with 23 points on 11 shots. Otto Porter Jr. added 15 points, while ex-Bull Jabari Parker led Atlanta with 15.
"I know I can shoot the ball," White said after Thursday's game. "Everybody goes through their slumps and up and down. You've just got to continue to move past it. My family was a big part too. They know I can shoot the ball. They just gave me confidence, 'Everything will work itself out.'"
White's family does more than just offer encouraging words. His older brother Will, a former Division 2 player at Mars Hill in North Carolina, moved to Chicago with him and helps with late-night shooting sessions.
"He's not my rebounder. He works me out," White said of his brother, who is eight years older. "He plays a big role in my player development. He has my whole life. He's my brother, he's family. I can trust him and I love him, so I wanted him to be on this journey with me."
White finished preseason averaging 19.2 points, second on the team to LaVine's 23.3. White hit 16 of 37 shots from 3-point range in preseason, a far cry from his 3-for-30 during summer league.
"I still can't lose that hunger to get better and continue to grind," White said. "I definitely felt good about it, but it will make me go harder. Everything's not going to be perfect. You're going to face a lot of adversity your rookie year. It just started for me at summer league."
Boylen had already mentioned Will White as a big contributor to his brother's development, since he's witnessed those late-night sessions.
"What he does is he works," Boylen said. "He hasn't missed any practice time. He is in the facility at night, shooting after practice, him and his brother Will. He puts the extra time in, he cares. I think it's a combination of him doing a great job and my assistant coaches doing a great job with him."
Another good storyline for the Bulls was center Wendell Carter Jr. Before the game, he was questionable to play because he tweaked his surgically-repaired left thumb during shootaround. But Carter did play and had some aggressive moments.
In the second quarter, Carter had two emphatic blocks and a pair of aggressive dunks. After throwing down a one-hand slam over Hawks rookie Bruno Fernando, Carter drew a technical foul for taunting.
The Bulls had another high-volume 3-point night, hitting 15 of 46 attempts from behind the arc.
The rotation didn't change from Sunday's game in Toronto. The second five included White, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono, Thad Young and Luke Kornet. That leaves Denzel Valentine and rookie Daniel Gafford waiting for their turn, while Shaq Harrison and Chandler Hutchison, who both missed all of preseason with hamstring injuries are TBD.
The Hawks were playing the second leg of back-to-back games, so they limited their starters' minutes. Trae Young didn't play at all in the second half. Forward John Collins missed the game with an illness and rookie Cam Reddish was out with a hip injury.