All things considered, the 2022-23 season did not go as well as the Chicago Bulls would have liked. The team hit far too many bumps in the road and took a massive step backward after (temporarily) shocking doubters in 2021-22. Not everything was doom and gloom, however, as the Bulls had several silver linings worth building on moving forward.
Perhaps none shined brighter than Coby White, who despite a reduction in his box score statistics, seemed to improve in virtually every area of the game. White’s handles, playmaking, and defensive awareness were the best we’ve ever seen from him since being selected 7th overall by the Bulls in 2019.
Coby has had to undergo a huge adjustment in the NBA, after an entire life spent as the top offensive option for his teams, he’s had to humbly accept a role on the bench beneath Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine. When he’s allowed to take the shackles off and really let loose, however, Coby can really light it up.
We saw this clear as day at Chicago’s pro-am Sonny Parker Unity Classic on Tuesday, where Coby lit the competition up for a ridiculous 51 points. I can’t say I’m that surprised he dominated the court, but the fluidity in White’s game only continues to improve by the year, leaving many fans excited for what’s to come.
Coby White is looking excellent and giving Bulls fans plenty to be hopeful for in 2023-24.
It’s not like White can only do this against pro-am competition either, as we’ve seen him do it at the NBA level as well. His opportunities have been limited by being placed in a reserve role for three of his four seasons in the league, but that hasn’t stopped him from making a big impression.
As a rookie, Coby became the first rookie to hit five or more three-pointers in three consecutive games. He was also the first rookie to ever score 30 or more points in consecutive games while coming off the bench. He even set an NBA record for most three-pointers made as a duo alongside Zach LaVine, proving just how dangerous he can be on that end of the court.
Outside of Chicago’s All-Star duo of LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, White’s off-the-dribble shooting touch is unrivaled on this roster. He’s had the perfect mentors in place to help foster his game, and as he continues to improve the other areas of his game, it’s becoming more and more difficult to ignore just how good Coby can be in the right situation.
Fortunately, the Bulls have locked Coby up on an extremely team-friendly three-year deal. For the player he is already, I think $33 million is a fair price to pay. For the player he could become? That’s a whole other story. Even if this era of Bulls basketball doesn’t produce a contending roster, I firmly believe the front office was wise to retain Chicago’s next big potential breakout star.