Keep or Leave: 5 Bulls players on hot seat after striking out in the lottery

Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Derrick Jones Jr., Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Derrick Jones Jr., Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports)
Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports) /

Keep: Coby White

Coby White has had a rollercoaster career since being drafted by the Chicago Bulls at number 7 overall in 2019. The 23-year-old is the second-longest tenured player on the team behind Zach LaVine, and he has shown a ton of change in his game over these years. White played 74 games this season but started only twice, which has been the trend over the past two years after his 2020-21 season where he started 54 games.

White had the lowest scoring average of his career this year at 9.7 points per game, but this may have been his best season due to his solid shooting, improved playmaking, and increased effort on the defensive end. Coby has shown more maturity in his play, often avoiding most miscues that he would fall victim to earlier on in his career.

White has shown this development as a 6th man and has fallen back into favor with the Chicago Bulls fanbase with his play late in the season. He was named in many different trade talks up to even the trade deadline, but his play in 2023 now shows that the Chicago Bulls need to keep him on the roster. White would be available for a heftier price tag, with estimates of his salary being around $14-$15 million. The Bulls front office is indicating that they are willing to match any offer for White, and this is a good decision as he demonstrated that he is one of the best shooters on the team and is becoming a much more well-rounded player.

This sequence from White is something that we did not see often during his first few years in the league, as a quality steal led to a nice behind-the-back dribble into a perfect lob for Zach LaVine. White’s defensive effort, handles, and passing instincts have improved significantly over the season, and he has shown flashes of developing into the player that the Bulls had hoped when drafting him. In his last 22 games of the season, White averaged 11.9 points and 4.5 assists on 49.5/42.3/100 shooting splits. This efficiency shows the ability that White has on the offensive end and if he can continue this play, he is more than worth a contract match.

Leave: Ayo Dosunmu

Ayo Dosunmu was hit hard by the sophomore slump this year. The Chicago native enjoyed a successful rookie season, being named to the All-Rookie second team after being drafted in the second round by the Bulls. Dosunmu started 40 games on a playoff team and was very efficient on offense, shooting 52% from the field and 37.6% from three. Dosunmu also showed an ability to make shots in crunch time which was huge in getting the Bulls to a 46-36 record last year.

In his second season, Dosunmu did not enjoy the same success. He ended up starting 51 of 80 games but saw his minutes diminish as he got benched later in the season due to his lack of shooting. Ayo’s three-point percentage fell to 31.2% this year, which was one of the root causes of his issues meshing with the starting lineup and the Bulls’ big 3.

Additionally, he is not a traditional point guard and did not add the playmaking that would give him a bigger role on the team. With Coby White’s improved play and the addition of Patrick Beverley for defense, Ayo fell out of favor with Billy Donovan. As Dosunmu approaches free agency this season, the Bulls will have plenty to mull over but they could let their second-year player leave as he will likely have a small role next year.