Chicago Bulls: Coby White vs. SGA will be matchup of the preseason

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Next up for Coby White and the Chicago Bulls is a matchup with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the OKC Thunder on the road on Dec. 16.

The four game preseason slate for the Chicago Bulls this year has hit the halfway mark, as this team is set to travel to day for their last two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road. The Bulls face the Thunder on the road to round out their preseason slate on Dec. 16 and 18.

In their first two games of their preseason schedule, the Bulls split home meetings with the Houston Rockets. But that was a Rockets team that was without superstar guard James Harden. The preseason tip off, back on Dec. 11, saw the Rockets down the Bulls at the United Center by a convincing final score of 125-101.

Then the Bulls got their revenge on the Rockets with a Dec. 13 home win by the comfortable final score of 104-91. The defense showed up in much stronger fashion for the Bulls in their second home matchup of the preseason against a Harden-less Rockets team.

Moreover, now that the Bulls are in the back half of their preseason schedule, more emphasis is being put onto the start of the regular season. And it is worth noting that it will be fun to watch the Bulls newly hired head coach Billy Donovan return to the team he spent five years coaching prior to landing this job over the offseason.

Donovan was the Thunder head coach for the five previous seasons before they parted ways with him following their first round playoff ext last season. He registered a regular season record over the course of those five seasons as Thunder head coach of 243-157 (.608 winning percentage). But there was an overall lack of postseason success for Donovan with the Thunder, which is likely what led to his departure a few months ago.

With the Bulls and Thunder about to meet in OKC on Dec. 16, it will also be fun to see the matchup take place between two up and coming guards; Coby White and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. All eyes should be falling on this matchup since they could be two of the more promising young guards in the NBA today.

White finished off his rookie season on a high-note. After the All-Star Break, he averaged more than 24 points per game to go along with around four rebounds and four assists. He caught fire and it was a shame that his rookie campaign came to an end early in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

And SGA looks to hold the keys to this Thunder team for the 2020-21 season. With the departures of veteran point guard Chris Paul, center Steven Adams, and power forward Danilo Gallinari, Sam Presti sent the Thunder into full rebuild mode (and acquired a plethora of draft picks in the process).

Under the mentorship of Donovan last season, SGA made some big strides in his game as a whole. He played in 70 games during the shortened 2019-20 regular season with the Thunder (all of which he started in). And he averaged 19.0 points per game, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.7 blocks. SGA shot 47.1 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 80.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Seeing how the styles of White and SGA compare and contrast (especially with Donovan now as the Bulls head coach) in these two games to round out the preseason schedule will be very insightful. Both White and SGA don’t really fill the role of a traditional point guard. But both do look to be the ball dominant guards that can fit the mould of a modern NBA offensive star in the near future.

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The Bulls and Thunder are set to tip off on Dec. 16, in the first of two meetings in OKC, at 7 p.m. CT at the Chesapeake Energy Center. Meanwhile, the Thunder enter this game coming off their preseason tip off win over the San Antonio Spurs back on Dec. 12.