Bulls

Windy City Bulls roundup: Rawle Alkins

Windy City Bulls roundup: Rawle Alkins

Every two weeks we will be looking at one player performing well with the Windy City Bulls in the NBA G League and take a look at how they could help the Chicago Bulls (NBA). In his two years at Arizona, Rawle Alkins averaged 16 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3 assists per game, while having a great defensive rating of 101.3. 

The Bulls signed Rawle Alkins to a two-way contract because at 6-foot 5, 220 lbs., Alkins represents the type of versatile prospect who could help change the fortunes of their struggling defense.

Alkins’ ceiling—like most athletic 3-and-D prospects—will be dictated by just how much his jump shot improves. Through 11 games with the Windy City Bulls, it seems like he has made some big strides in terms of spacing the floor. He has made 48.6 percent of his 3-pointers (on an admittedly small sample size) and while that number is due for some regression—Alkins shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range in college—his improved free throw percentage would at least hint at the his shot being more fluid.


On top of the improvement in shooting, Alkins has continued to play good defense and provide solid rebounding. He is averaging 14 points, 5 rebounds and just under 3 assists per game and has played a major hand in Windy City’s solid defense.

The Windy City Bulls have the 12th best defensive rating in the league (104.5). Alkins’ steal and block rates are not near where they were in college, but the increased pace of G League basketball has allowed Alkins to flourish as an offensive player.

In his two years at Arizona Alkins had a 14 percent assist rate. In the G League he has a 19 percent assist rate, a huge testament to how much head coach Charlie Henry has trusted him with the ball in his hand in the absence of Tyler Ulis. He has improved at hitting the big man with a pocket pass in the pick and roll, but still is a turnover-prone player at this stage in his development.

He wouldn’t be expected to set up the offense with the (NBA) Bulls but having another capable ball-handler on the floor would help take pressure off of Zach LaVine. He is another threat to push the ball up the floor after grabbing a rebound and his ability as a switch defender may make him a perfect compliment to a lineup with Jabari Parker and LaVine on the floor.

Making 3-point shots off the catch is a good indicator of development as a shooter, but your accuracy while moving says a lot about your absolute ceiling. Alkins is hitting 3-point shots off the dribble and—most importantly—he is knocking down 3-pointers while coming off of pin down screens and dribble handoffs.


Alkins is an aggressive player—something you can tell from his 1.6 offensive rebounds per game—but seems to understand the difference between a good, aggressive shot attempt and a reckless decision. Despite the team's leading shot-taker (Ulis at 18 shots per game) missing time, Alkins is still at a respectable 12 field goal attempts per game. He knows his role and the fact that he isn’t forcing things on offense bodes well for his fit in Hoiberg’s system.

His offensive rating (100.7) is not good and a big part of that is the fact that he is averaging just under 3 turnovers per game. But his 25 percent usage rate is way higher than it would be in lineups with LaVine, Parker, Antonio Blakeney and Lauri Markkanen. Alkins is due for a call up, and playing some combination of he, Chandler Hutchison, Shaq Harrison, Justin Holiday with Parker and Carter could make for a solid defensive look.

With incredible athleticism, an improved 3-point stroke and a willingness to do the dirty work on the glass, all signs point to Alkins being a rotation level talent now.
 

Bulls Talk Podcast: Coby White and Daniel Gafford join Mark Schanowski

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Coby White and Daniel Gafford join Mark Schanowski

Mark Schanowski is joined by Bulls top draft picks Coby White and Daniel Gafford after they were introduced to the media Monday at the Advocate Center.

0:50        White on how he thinks he can help the Bulls

1:25        White on his meeting with Jim Boylen

2:00        White on joining a very young roster

2:30        White on the influence of his father

3:33        White on the viral video of him reacting to Cam Johnson being drafted

4:50        White on his teammate first personality

5:38        White on looking forward to playing w Gafford

6:42        Gafford on his skill set

7:15        Gafford on watching the NBA when he can

7:40        Gafford on evolving big man role

8:47        Gafford on if he can do more offensively

9:20        Gafford on Bobby Portis, and some of their similarities

10:30     Gafford on some of his highlights from Arkansas

11:10     Gafford on Jim Boylen

11:30     Gafford on pick n roll game

12:00     Gafford on Coby White

12:40     Gafford on falling to the 2nd round, how getting drafted by the Bulls worked out

13:22     Gafford on throwing out 1st pitch at an upcoming Sox game

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

Bulls Talk Podcast

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NBA Draft: The two instances that sold the Bulls on Coby White

NBA Draft: The two instances that sold the Bulls on Coby White

From what Coby White, Jim Boylen and John Paxson have expressed, there appear to have been two key factors that led the Bulls to select the North Carolina point guard seventh overall on Thursday night.

The first came early in November when general manager Gar Forman was scouting the Tar Heels in Las Vegas. White was an absolute star in two games against Texas and UCLA, averaging 26.0 points on 57% shooting (16 of 28), 5.5 3-pointers on 11 of 17 shooting and 5.5 assists. White also had just four turnovers in 54 minutes and got to the free throw line 13 times.

"Gar saw Coby play out in Las Vegas early in the year and my phone was blowing up with texts from Gar. That was the moment he was on the radar for sure," Paxson said. "It was Gar seeing Coby in Las Vegas that got the antenna up."

Paxson also referenced White's success against Duke as attention-grabbing. White struggled in the first of three matchups against the Blue Devils, scoring just nine points on 3 of 14 shooting. But White responded at home with a 21-point outing in Game 2, and in the ACC Championship Game tallied 11 points, 5 rebounds 4 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes.

"He talked about it when we did our background that he wasn’t’ going to have that happen again," Paxson said of White's initial clunker against Duke, "and the next two times he played Duke, he had really good games and learned from it. That’s what so much of this is about."

That second Duke game - a game the Tar Heels won, 79-70, over the Zion-less Blue Devils - was also the moment White began feeling like he might be a one-and-done prospect. He didn't arrive in Raleigh feeling that way, but the 21-point effort on 8 of 18 shooting (and a career-high 3 blocks) put the thought in his head. It was part of a dominant stretch that included 34 points against Syracuse, 28 more against Clemson and, five days after the Duke game, 19 points against Louisville in the ACC Tournament.

"I think it changed after we played Duke at home," White said. "I started to get a lot of buzz, started getting on draft boards in the top 10. And then kind of after the season, I talked to Coach (Roy) Williams before anyone, and he kind of gave me his blessing, saying that I should go. After that it was kind of an easy decision for me."

The other instance that brought White to Chicago was a pre-draft meeting on the Saturday before the NBA Draft. White arrived in Chicago and, despite opting not to work out privately for the Bulls, did meet with Paxson and Boylen. Both Paxson and White described that interview as a telling sign of the mutual interest, and Boylen reiterated that impressive interaction on Monday when White was introduced to the media at the Advocate Center.

“He looks you in the eye when you talk to him. He’s coachable. He has a soul and a spirit, which I think is important, and he’s been just awesome to deal with,” Boylen said. “We had a great meeting. It was great for both of us.”

White described that meeting with Boylen as the best he had with any coach in the pre-draft process. Paxson said White was “anxious for more” after the coaching Boylen did in that meeting, with the two looking at both good and bad film from White’s freshman season.

It all culminated in Thursday night’s selection. With both Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver off the board, the Bulls drafted for both talent and need in selecting White. He isn’t a traditional point guard – his 24.7% assist rate is evidence of that – but he gives the Bulls both a dynamic scorer and someone to push the ball in transition. Paxson said as much on Thursday and Boylen doubled down on that assessment four days later.

“Well I think the most important thing for us is when the ball is in his hands. We have to run with him. We want to play faster. We want to play smart, but we want to play faster when it's appropriate. He's a guy that can make decisions on the move. We've got to get the rest of our team to run with him. That's going to be our job, and I'm excited for that.”

White will also give the Bulls a floor spacer – he shot 35.3% from deep as a freshman – at the position, something they desperately needed the past few years. He’s hardly a finished product but should get the chance to improve right away, whether it’s as a starter or backing up a free agent acquisition in July.

But Boylen applauded White’s desire to get better, something that rubbed off in that pre-draft interview. White had a direct answer when asked what he needs to improve on in his rookie season.

“Coming in, decision-making. The league is ball screen-heavy so decisions off ball screens. At Carolina, coaches kind of wanted me to really just go one speed and that’s fast all the time,” White said. “I think coming into the league, I can use my change of speed and change of pace better. I’ve been trying to work on that a lot. Those two things are really key for me.”

Finding talent was key for the Bulls after a 22-win season. But they’re also thrilled with the personalities and workers they found in both White and second-round pick Daniel Gafford.

“We drafted these guys because of their ability to be coached and be teachable,” Boylen said. “Everything we got back on their background was teachable, coachable, want to get better, care for their teammates. Those are the kind of guys we targeted.”