Chicago Bulls: Coby White’s season cut short before he got going

Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The rookie season for Chicago Bulls former first round pick and point guard Coby White was going well of late, and then it was abruptly put on pause.

There’s a lot of players around the NBA, especially on the Chicago Bulls roster, that won’t see any benefit from the hiatus in terms of their development. Since the NBA put its season on hiatus more than one week ago, the basketball world sat in a desolate novel coronavirus-filled news cycle. But hopefully that will pick up soon if the COVID-19 outbreak slows down.

The Bulls ended their run during the 2019-20 regular season with a record of 22-43 in their first 65 games. Their last game saw them down the Central Division foe Cleveland Cavaliers at home at the United Center on March 10 by the final score of 108-103. The next game would’ve come against the Orlando Magic on the road on March 12.

Yet, the Bulls have a lot to do still heading into the 2020 offseason. Or the resuming of the 2019-20 season schedule, whichever is pertinent to them.

Entering the offseason, the Bulls were expected to have to take a long look in the mirror and figure out how to legitimately right the ship for the fourth year of the rebuild. The Bulls were on pace to possibly take a step back record-wise compared to the first year of the rebuild.

Franchise cornerstones could be in place if the proper front office adjustments are made this offseason. Most of the fan base would likely be in favor of the parting ways with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and/or general manager Gar Forman.

Those aforementioned franchise cornerstones that are in place for the Bulls includes rookie point guard Coby White, center Wendell Carter Jr., and shooting guard Zach LaVine. Rookie center Daniel Gafford and power forward Lauri Markkanen are still solid pieces to grow within this Bulls rotation.

If fans had to choose one Bulls player currently on the roster to start all over and build around, it would likely either be White or LaVine. There might still be some Markkanen and Carter Jr. loyalists out there, which makes sense, but the Bulls two guards of the future provide the most hope for the rebuild at the moment.

LaVine was nearly an All-Star selection for the first time in his career. He averaged 25.5 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists, while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc. The durability factor was also present for LaVine right up until the hiatus. He was sidelined for a few games prior to March 11 with a quad injury, but he still played in 60 games so far this season.

White was really finding his groove prior to the hiatus, but out of the All-Star Break. He was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in February, and was possibly on pace to challenge for the honors again for March. White averaged 20.1 points per game, 4.1 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in February. He was on a good pace through five games played in March by averaging 22.4 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists.

The first career start for White came in the Bulls last game before the hiatus. An up and down run throughout his entire rookie season thus far saw White post just .026 win shares per 48 minutes and a box plus/minus rating of -2.7.

He definitely ended this first run of the 2019-20 season on a high-note, even if it did get put on pause right when he was heating up. This is a good sign for a volume scoring guard to heat up right before what was supposed to he his first full offseason.

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The 6-foot-5 former North Carolina Tar Heel might have already supplanted Tomas Satoransky as the Bulls starting point guard. He’s on the right track in the midst of the NBA hiatus, and it would be nice to see him in at least a few more games before the Bulls call it a season.