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


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."

2020 NBA Draft Lottery going virtual, breaking Chicago's two-year host run

2020 NBA Draft Lottery going virtual, breaking Chicago's two-year host run

It’s felt pre-ordained for months now. Now, it appears it’s decided.

No, the Bulls didn’t draw the seventh pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (yet). But The Athletic’s Shams Charania did report Monday afternoon that the lottery scheduled for Aug. 20 will take place virtually. All 14 teams ‘in attendance’ will be allowed to ‘send’ remote representatives. The event will presumably be televised, but details haven’t emerged on that front yet.

It’s a logical gameplan given the COVID-19 pandemic’s ongoing nature, and the acclaim received by virtual draft showcases broadcast by the WNBA and NFL while live sports in the United States were effectively paused.

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The news also sends a few ripples in Bulls world. For one, who will rep the team, in this, its third consecutive lottery appearance? Michael Reinsdorf and Horace Grant manned the post in 2018 and 2019, respectively. But for this year? Benny the Bull would be sure to bring the energy. On the heels of the summer of “The Last Dance,” perhaps a dynasty-era contributor could get the call. Or maybe a newly-minted front office face instead? Time will tell.

And, as our K.C. Johnson pointed out on Twitter, this development also marks the end of a two-year streak of Chicago hosting the lottery in 2018 and 2019. The city has long housed the combine.

Here’s what Adam Silver told NBC Sports Chicago in February when asked his impressions of Chicago as a host-city for the lottery:

We have been very pleased in Chicago. Our community comes together in Chicago for our predraft camp and combine. It made perfect sense to also conduct the draft lottery there. And that was something that Mayor Emanuel never stopped reminding me of. Things can potentially change over time. We are enjoying being in Chicago. Because of the geographic location, it’s more convenient for our teams to be in a more central location. And Chicago, for the same reasons that makes it a fantastic All-Star host, has all the accommodations you need for our teams when they come together for our combine. My anticipation is we’ll be in Chicago for a while. And the city has been terrific to work with.

Silver made that comment before All-Star weekend in Chicago, but all of the above virtues translated. Though Bulls representation was limited, no one would deny Chicago played a splendid host for the festivities.

The Bulls enter this year’s lottery locked into the seventh-best odds (7.5%) at nabbing the No. 1 pick, and a 32% chance of vaulting into the top four. 

Slots No. 1 through No. 8 in the lottery standings are set with the teams excluded from the NBA’s restart. Slots No. 9 through 14 will populate at the end of the play-in round, when postseason seeding is officially set. Teams that started the restart as a top-eight seed in either conference can fall into the lottery if they miss the playoffs, but the ultimate order of the lottery odds will be decided by pre-hiatus record (meaning, for example, that if the current standings hold and the Phoenix Suns finish with a better record than the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, but miss the postseason, the Suns would own better lottery odds than the Pels and Kings by virtues of each team’s pre-hiatus record).

All of which is to say, clear your calendars for next Thursday. After that, rumor and speculation are sure to swirl until the draft itself, which, as of right now, is reportedly scheduled for Oct. 16. The status of the combine remains up in the air, though ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported July 23 that the league is polling teams on which players should be invited to the combine if one takes place.

For the Bulls, helmed by a new front office regime and facing a moment of reckoning in the current rebuild, this year’s draft process is an especially crucial one.


Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history

NBC Sports Chicago is counting down the top 10 Bulls at each position in franchise history.

We've hit the point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. And last, but certainly not least, the men in the middle. The centers.

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Defensive anchors, multi-skilled hubs and blue-collar tenacity abound in these rankings. And plenty of hardware — both of the championship and individual variety.

We hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Without further adieu...

Bulls' Top 10 Centers in franchise history