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."