There’s the hope of late that the Chicago Bulls and first-year head coach Billy Donovan can turn the corner following their big win over the Brooklyn Nets from last weekend. The Bulls snapped a six-game losing skid with their win over the Nets by an eight-point margin from back on April 4 at home at the United Center.
Next up for the Bulls is a meeting on the road with the Indiana Pacers and head coach Nate Bjorkgren at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the evening of April 6. This is a big game for both the Bulls and Pacers, who are duking it out for position both in the Eastern Conference playoff picture and the Central Division at this point of the season.
Good news for Donovan and the Bulls did arrive in the way of an injury update, namely a player returning to the lineup, in second-year former North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Coby White. The 21-year-old White was missed a few games in the last week or so, both due to a neck injury and COVID-19-related issues.
What the return of Coby White brings the Chicago Bulls bench?
White hasn’t been in the starting five for a good while, with combo guard Tomas Satoransky taking his spot. He and third-year center Wendell Carter Jr. were benched around the same time for the Bulls after the All-Star Break. Shortly thereafter, fourth-year power forward Lauri Markkanen started coming off the bench for Donovan too.
The scoring spark that the Bulls could get by White returning to the rotation on this night could be huge for them. White has provided the Bulls mixed results in the nine games he’s played in this season where he’s come off the bench.
While coming off the bench this season, White averaged 9.5 points per game, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.4 blocks. And he shot 37.0 percent from the field, 29.3 percent from beyond the arc, and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line.
The defensive play of White has actually improved a bit since he started coming off the bench, but his counting stats and shooting percentages on offense dipped significantly. Getting used to this newfound role could be something that White turns into more of a volume-scoring sixth man slot.
Nonetheless, White does provide the Bulls with something that they don’t get out of anyone else really off the bench. This type of microwave scoring guard is a rare presence for the Bulls. And if White can continue playing this improved style of defense, with his usual volume scoring ability off the bench, then he could be huge for this rotation.
The Bulls moved their record to 20-28 on the season following their win over the weekend over superstar point guard Kyrie Irving and the Nets. Tip-off time between the Bulls and Pacers is set for 6 p.m. CT in Indy.