Chicago Bulls: Turnover heavy preseason for PG Coby White

Coby White, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Coby White, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls second-year 6-foot-5 point guard Coby White had a decent preseason run, but turnovers were frequent in four games.

The push to victory for the Chicago Bulls in their final preseason game of the year came largely from fourth-year power forward Lauri Markkanen. The Bulls got the slight two-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder for their third straight victory to round out this four-game preseason slate. That win over the Thunder came by the final score of 105-103.

Markkanen finally had his breakthrough game for the Bulls on Dec. 18 to round out the preseason after a rather slow start. But the Bulls player that a lot of fans expected to have a huge game to round out the preseason schedule wasn’t as advertised heading into the weekend.

Second-year former North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Coby White had a slow finish to the preseason. He did hit the glass hard for the Bulls, but the rest of his game was pretty inefficient. White registered just four points, nine rebounds, three assists, no steals, no blocks, and turnovers.

He shot a poor 1-of-10 from the field, 1-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. This was just a difficult game in general shooting from the field and getting to the charity stripe for White. The good news is that, even with how inefficient he was on offense, the Bulls still managed to pull out the win.

Moreover, even though Markkanen had a pretty efficient preseason finale, he and White were still team-lows at -19. Markkanen registered a game-high 22 points, to go along with five rebounds, one assist, and one block. He shot 9-of-17 from the field, 4-of-10 from beyond the arc, and didn’t have any attempts from the free-throw line.

It is nice to see Markkanen round out the preseason on a high note, but not all Bulls players got to do so in this game.

White ends the preseason with an overarching storyline of question marks as to his ability to lead the Bulls at the point guard position. The ability of White to score at will and to improve his off-ball play on both ends of the floor shouldn’t come into question, but his effectiveness at facilitating the offense is.

Throughout four games played this preseason, White averaged about 4.3 assists per game and 3.0 turnovers. That is roughly the same assist-to-turnover ratio that he registered last preseason. And while the assist-to-turnover ratio that he had during his first regular season in the NBA was slightly better, it was still similar to this preseason.

White also registered a 17.7 turnover percentage during this four game preseason slate. That is higher than the turnover percentage he registered last preseason or during the 2019-20 regular season.

We should keep in mind that we can’t put too much stock into the preseason, and these are just basic observations after a very long hiatus for this Bulls young core. There’s a really good chance that the play of White as the Bulls starting point guard picks up emphatically early in this regular season.

White’s play very much improved down the stretch last season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the same for his sophomore campaign in the NBA.

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The Bulls finished up this preseason slate with a record of 3-1, after two wins over the Thunder and one over the Houston Rockets (from back on Dec. 13). They open up the regular season slate at home at the United Center on Dec. 23 against the Atlanta Hawks.