Bulls

Paxson says Bulls will be patient with Coby White: 'It's gonna take some time'

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USA TODAY

Paxson says Bulls will be patient with Coby White: 'It's gonna take some time'

The Bulls have been spoiled each of the last two seasons, receiving instant impact players through the draft in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Both bigs started as rookies from Day 1 and contributed immediately.

But Bulls VP John Paxson said Thursday on 670 The Score that the organization will be patient with 2019 first-round pick Coby White as he learns the point guard position.

White has spent his entire basketball career in a scoring role. He is North Carolina's all-time leading high school scorer, and he averaged 16.1 points on 12.7 attempts per game in his lone season with the Tar Heels.

The Bulls had a need at point guard and addressed it in the draft, selecting White seventh overall, but he'll need some seasoning at the position before he's ready to contribute.

White has appeared in four Summer League games and had mixed results. He's averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds 4.0 assists and 4.0 turnovers. He's struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 35.7% and has made just 3 of 26 3-pointers.

The Bulls love his ability to score, but as White continues to learn the point guard position at the NBA level, making decisions out of pick-and-roll action, driving and kicking and shooting off the dribble, patience will be key with the 19-year-old rookie.

"It’s gonna take some time. Coby was a big-time scorer in high school, so his mindset is oftentimes to look for his shot," Paxson said. "And the reality of our game today is the point guard position, most of the high-level guards have a big-time scoring component to them, they know how to get to the rim, they know how to shoot. It’s just no longer the point guard who just comes off screens and is always looking to pass the ball. So I think it’s going to take Coby a little bit of time, I think when you look at him in the Summer League, his decision making has been, he’s had to learn some things through that."

This isn't a new revelation based on White's Summer League performance. The Bulls were aggressive in free agency, grabbing Wizards starter Tomas Satoransky in a sign-and-trade deal on Day 2 of the new season. They also brought back Ryan Arcidiacono on a three-year deal and, for the time being, have Kris Dunn in the mix.

"I think the one good thing for us is, as our roster sits right now, Coby can learn at his own pace," Paxson said. And if he comes into camp and plays great and earns opportunity, that’s terrific. And I think he will. But we signed (Tomas) Satoransky, we still have Kris Dunn on our roster, who is a tough competitive kid. So (White) is going to have an opportunity to learn.

"But when we look at this long-term, we think Coby’s obviously got a really bright future. You’ve got to have guys put the ball in the basket and this kid has the mindset that he’s going to do that."

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls only score 73 points in loss to Charlotte

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls only score 73 points in loss to Charlotte

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 83-73 loss to the Hornets.

0:30 - Will Perdue makes a cameo to start the show

1:00 - On only scoring 73 points

4:55 - Is this loss worse than the Celtics loss last season?

6:30 - Viewer comments on the loss and shooting too many threes

8:00 - Discussion on Thad Young minutes vs Lauri Markkanen minutes

12:10 - Viewer comment asking what would the Outsiders say if head coach

15:05 - Viewer comment on Tomas Satoransky

17:20 - Viewer trade idea for Terrance Ross

20:25 - Viewer comment on Coby White struggling

21:25 - Viewer comment on Kris Dunn starting

23:50 - Our ideas for other ‘theme’ nights for Bulls games

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders

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Is the Bulls' defensive philosophy hurting their rebounding?

Is the Bulls' defensive philosophy hurting their rebounding?

Jim Boylen opened his press conference with a silver lining.

"If there's a positive in this difficult loss, it's in the past when we haven't been able to put the ball in the basket... We haven't guarded well," Boylen said. "I thought our defense was terrific tonight. I thought it kept us in the game, it gave us a chance."

There's some validity to that. Friday night, the Bulls allowed their adversary, the Charlotte Hornets, only 83 points. The Hornets shot 38% from the floor, 19.4% from 3-point range (31 attempts) and turned the ball over 21 times. On most nights, holding an opponent to those numbers is a recipe for success — even if the paltriness of said numbers was as much a result of the Hornets' sloppy play as anything.

Not in this one. The offense will shoulder most of the blame there: The Bulls shot only 30% from the field (they're the only team that's shot 30% or less from the field in a game this season, and they've done it twice) and 20.6% from 3-point range. According to Boylen, they shot 44% at the rim. Crucially, they were also outrebounded by Charlotte 60-45 — a disparity aided by the Bulls missing a whopping 63 field goals on the night. 

"They were crashing a lot of guys," Lauri Markkanen said. "We need to do a better job of boxing out. I feel like we did a good job defensively, but we just need to get the first rebound and limit their second-chance points."

The Hornets entered the night ranked 27th in rebound rate — which measures the percentage of missed shots a team is able to pull in — the Bulls 29th. For Charlotte, P.J. Washington (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Cody Zeller (11 points, 10 rebounds) both logged double-doubles, and Bismack Biyombo (12 points, nine rebounds) came close. As a team, they converted 11 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points. 

"They had 11 offensive rebounds. It seemed like they had more," Boylen, aptly, said. "Those plays are back-breakers."

Especially true in such a drudgy game. The Hornets led 44-40 at the halftime break, then 59-50 entering the fourth after outscoring the Bulls 15-10 in the third quarter. It was a game from a different era.

Thad Young rejected the notion that the Bulls were outmatched physically or undersized, relative to the Hornets.

"I think that's about us just going out there and making sure we get the ball, and us gang-rebounding," he said of the disparity on the boards.

Young cited the team's defensive philosophy — specifically, their strategy of blitzing and aggressively hedging in pick-and-roll coverage — as one factor in their inconsistency in this area. Bringing bigs up and away from the basket on those actions can often leave them out of position when the other team's eventual shot is put up (and off) the rim. 

"The way our defense is it kinda crossmatches us a little bit, because the big is generally trying to stop the guard from driving. Then when they hit the big, he's in the trail position, so their big has inside position on us, and then you have a big on the baseline or you have a cutter going baseline," Young said. "So it kinda puts us in a situation where we have to figure out who's gonna be in to get the rebounds and usually, the guys that's in there to get the rebounds are guards. Because they're sagging in on the weak-side or they're helping trying to get the big into position where he can rebound the basketball."

Wendell Carter Jr. had 11 boards on the night, but the Bulls' next-leading rebounder was Zach LaVine, with eight. Then Young with five.

But Young declined to label it a systemic issue, or even a communication one. 

"It's just something that kinda happens in the flow of the game," Young said. "Some games are gonna be different than others. Some games we're gonna be able to get our bigs back, and some games we're gonna depend on our guards to come in and rebound."

It seems that this is happening often, as of late. The Bulls have been outrebounded in 19 of their 27 games this season — they're 4-15 in said contests.

Of course, making shots would help, as well. Between the two teams, there were 112 missed field goals tonight. That's a lot of chances for rebounds, and the Hornets converted more than the Bulls tonight.

"Imma be honest with you, I don't really see too much they were doing [defensively]. We were just missing shots," Young said. "I had three for sure that just went in and came out, and a couple other guys had some so. I think it was just one of those nights."

It certainly was. Now, on to the next — Saturday night, when they fearsome Clippers come to town.

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