Chicago Bulls: Coby White, Pat Williams standing above rest in preseason

Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The last two preseason games provided a ton of positive signs for a lot of the core players in this Chicago Bulls rebuild in its fourth year.

The last two games of the Chicago Bulls preseason slate went really well, especially for the way that this young core is trending. The originally opened up their four game preseason schedule on Dec. 11, with a loss at home at the United Center to veteran point guard John Wall and the Houston Rockets, by the convincing final score of 125-104.

In the aforementioned last two preseason games for the Bulls, they got revenge against the Rockets on Dec. 13 and took down the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road on Dec. 16. On Dec. 13, the Bulls got a comfortable win at home at the United Center over the Rockets by the final score of 104-91. And in the road win over the Thunder, by the dominant final score of 124-103, at the Chesapeake Energy Center on Dec. 16 extended the Bulls winning streak to two games.

What largely powered the Bulls to build this two-game winning streak in the preseason, and what should be one of the bigger takeaways so far, is the standout play of two key pieces of the young core. Those two key players for the Bulls that are shining of late are rookie former Florida State forward Patrick Williams and second-year former North Carolina point guard Coby White.

All eyes fell on Williams as he got his first start of his NBA career (granted it was during the preseason) in this Dec. 16 matchup against the Thunder. He did well in that spotlight too. Williams registered 13 points, seven rebounds, no assists, no steals, and two blocks. And he shot an efficient 6-of-9 from the field, 1-of-1 from beyond the arc, and 0-of-1 from the free-throw line.

In three games played through this preseason slate with the Bulls (one of which he started in), Williams averaged 12.7 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, no assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.7 blocks. He shot 50.0 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from beyond the arc, and 55.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Definitely the biggest qualms in Williams’ game so far is the lack of distribution of the ball on offense and the shooting from the charity stripe. But we should be very patient with the developments of those parts of his game for the 19-year-old rookie forward.

Moreover, White maybe was the MVP for the Bulls in this preseason win over the Thunder. He registered a game-high 27 points, to go along with five rebounds, three assists, one steals, and a concerning four turnovers. White shot 11-of-17 from the field, 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, and didn’t have any attempts from the free-throw line.

White’s game is looking really good so far through this preseason slate. The only concerning part of his game so far is the assist-to-turnover ratio he’s showing that is even worse than his last season. Combo guard Tomas Satoransky and backup point guard Ryan Arcidiacono both have much more efficient assist-to-turnover ratios with the Bulls over that same stretch of time.

All in all, the way that White and Williams are playing for the Bulls so far this preseason should give the fan base a lot of hope for what’s to come with this rebuild heading into its fourth year. Newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and head coach Billy Donovan could be charting the right path for this rebuild.

Next. 3 bold predictions for Zach LaVine in 2020-21. dark

The Bulls now hold a preseason record of 2-1, heading into the last game of this slate. The preseason finale for White, Williams, and the Bulls comes on the road against the Thunder again on Dec. 18.