1. Coby White
The rise of Coby White over the last month has been spectacular. The 23-year-old point guard is averaging 24 points, 6.5 assists, and 6 rebounds over the last 12 games, which are all-star numbers. Even more impressive is his shooting efficiency, as he has displayed 49/44/83 shooting splits over that time.
He has been the primary driver of the Bulls' run without Zach LaVine, and he has shown that with a significant role, he has the ability to shine. It is also important to note that these numbers are not empty, as White has done a ton of damage late in games. Over this 8-4 stretch, White has averaged 8 points (11th in the league) and 2 assists (12th) in the 4th quarter on 62/52/82 shooting.
What is incredibly impressive from these stat lines is White's 3-point shooting. He is currently 5th in the league in made 3-pointers, which is something that nobody could have predicted at the beginning of the year. Even more impressive is the fact that he has only attempted the 12th most threes in the league, and of the top 10 players in threes made, only Steph Curry makes deep balls at a higher rate. It is clear that Coby White's play has directly influenced winning basketball, which makes it all the more convincing that he could be a cornerstone of the franchise.
If there is one thing the Bulls knew about Coby, though, is that he could score. However, his development in his all-around game have been incredibly exciting to watch as well, as he is becoming a better passer, ballhandler, defender, and overall decision-maker. His game against the Miami Heat was a great example of this as he didn't have his best shooting night (9-20), but was able to score 26 points while dishing out 11 assists and doing nice work on the boards with 7 rebounds.
This game was a testament to what White has been working towards over the last year and a half. He has developed his offensive game by using his speed to blow by defenders, either being able to finish in the paint or kick it out to an open teammate. This has added another element to his game beyond being just a shooter, which has enabled him to get to the next level offensively. We have seen White's numbers go up in every category, and this has propelled him into the Most Improved Player discussion.
While many see Coby White as an offensive player, but an extreme defensive liability, it is important to note that White has improved his defense significantly. He has shown tremendous hustle this year, and the stats have backed that up. He is 5th in the league in defensive loose balls recovered and is tied for 10th in the league in charges drawn. The UNC product is putting in the effort defensively, and while he may not be considered a good defender, he still is putting in the work and significantly improving his play on that side of the ball.
These 3 Bulls have plenty of work to do to become cornerstones of a franchise, but Chicago is not in as bad of a position as once thought. Because of Coby White, Patrick Williams, and Ayo Dosunmu, the Bulls have the opportunity to become contenders in the future if they can place the right people around them and hopefully bring in a star.