Bulls' Coby White gets extra shots up in empty gym after cold shooting night

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Rob Schaefer
·3 min read
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White gets extra shots up at UC to combat cold shooting spell originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Coby White followed a scoreless outing on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks -- in which he shot 0-for-5 and slung four assists -- with another tough shooting night Monday against the Houston Rockets.

In the Bulls' 125-120 victory, their starting point guard scored 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range.

Yes, that made him one of seven Bulls who scored in double-figures, indicative of a well-balanced offensive attack. But White was far from satisfied. He spent a spell after the final buzzer getting shots up on the vacant United Center floor. 

Monday's performance slid White's season-long scoring average to 15.9 points after he'd risen as high as 18.6 following a career night against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 6. White scored 36 points on 15-for-23 shooting (4-for-9 from 3, 11-for-12 in the paint) in that contest, along with seven assists and zero turnovers.

In the five games since? He's averaging just 11 points on 35.5 percent shooting from the floor, 29.6 percent from deep.

"I think last year kind of hurt him a little bit, because he's a point guard, you know, but last year he was more of a coming off the bench and scoring," teammate Denzel Valentine said after the Rockets game. "So that kind of hurt his development a little bit. But he's figuring it out. People gotta give him credit. He's switching to a new role this year, being the starting point guard, and it comes with a lot of pressure. People just expect him to just come in and get the point guard position right away when he had a whole different role last year."

That's the thing: White's role has completely changed course in this, his sophomore campaign. His rookie year, he was an off-the-pine spark plug finding buckets (in bunches) off the ball. This season, he's tasked with helming the Bulls' offense as the starting lead guard. From year one to year two, his minutes have vaulted from 25.8 to 34.9 per night. His touches per game have increased from 46.9 to 76.8. 

With that will come ups and downs. White weathered plenty of those in 2019-20.

In that aforementioned five-game cold stretch shooting the ball, he's at least averaging 6.6 assists. And included in that span is a career-high 13-dime performance against the Clippers that he produced even while shooting poorly (4-for-11 FG, 0-for-4 3P). His facilitating in the Mavericks game drew postgame locker room praise from Thad Young.

White's 2.9 turnovers per game, of course, mark a blemish for a team coughing it up at a bottom-of-the-league rate. So does a current, early-season field goal percentage of 40.7.

But the Bulls are far from losing faith -- and rightfully so.

"He's gonna get it," said Valentine. "He's a great basketball player, he's a hard worker, he's gonna figure it out. And he's putting up shots. He's gonna figure it out one way or another."

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Minnesota
+145+4.5O 226.5
Chicago
-176-4.5U 226.5