Coby White emerges as a top contender for coveted award

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

When the Chicago Bulls first announced that they'd be without Zach LaVine for the foreseeable future, they possessed a horrendous 5-14 record and appeared to be on a collision course with another appearance at the draft lottery. Since then, however, the Bulls have reeled off six wins in their last nine games, thanks in large part to the breakout of Coby White.

Without LaVine around to eat up a massive portion of Chicago's offensive usage, Coby White has risen to the challenge and more than replaced Zach in the starting lineup. Over these last nine games, White has averaged 25.4 points, 6.8 assists, and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 49.7% from the field and 48.2% from three-point range. These numbers are even better than LaVine's best season averages to date, proving just how incredibly effective Coby has been through this stretch.

His efforts have undoubtedly influenced Chicago's win column, as Coby scored 31 points in a 6-point win over the Pelicans and posted a combined plus-minus of +38 in a 9-point win over the Spurs and an 8-point win over the Heat. Coby has displayed significantly improved playmaking abilities while only averaging 1.6 turnovers per game, proving he's cutting down on avoidable mistakes and becoming a more well-rounded and aware player.

Coby's electric two-way play has many fans calling for his name to be thrown into the ring for the Most Improved Player award. Considering he's managed to nearly double his offensive output while becoming much more efficient and effective on the defensive end, it's difficult to argue against his case.

Rising Bulls star Coby White is earning well-deserved recognition in the race for the Most Improved Player award.

After his latest performance, FanDuel currently has White at +850 odds to win the Most Improved Player award, fourth-best among all his peers. Tyrese Maxey is the odds-on favorite at -140, followed by Alperen Sengun (+500), Scottie Barnes (+600), White, and Tyrese Haliburton (+1200). No other player currently holds odds of +4000 or better.

It's going to be difficult to pass up the likes of Maxey and Haliburton while they're playing at such a high level, but given they were each already featured in prominent roles on their respective team, Coby may be able to edge out a stronger narrative. Everybody expected Maxey and Haliburton to capitalize on their new roles, but nobody could predict what White is doing right now.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Coby needs to prove he can maintain this level of play. As good as he's been, it's only been 9 games. Once teams are given time to adjust to his lethal shooting and improved playmaking, we'll see if he really has what it takes to make the leap to stardom.