Undermanned Bulls fall to Pacers, but ‘baller’ Coby White has a night
Bulls coach Jim Boylen sat his starters, allowing the rookie White to be showcased for the first time this preseason. The Bulls, however, are now 0-3 in preseason.
INDIANAPOLIS – Coby White “Scorer’’ was on full display in Friday night’s 105-87 loss to Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Coby White “Point Guard?’’ Well, that title is still a serious work in progress.
White, drafted by the Bulls with the No. 7 overall pick last June, got the starting nod against the Pacers and was turned loose for the first time this preseason, finishing with a team-high 24 points on 10-for-22 shooting. The number that was hard to overlook, however, was the zero assists in 30 minutes.
Fine if the Bulls deem White a valuable scoring guard off the bench. Where it loses some traction, however, was the idea that they insisted he was a point guard on draft day.
Maybe someday, but not anytime soon. That’s fine, according to coach Jim Boylen, who doesn’t want White labeled.
“Just ball, be a baller,’’ Boylen said. “We’re not going to define you in this way or that way, or you have to do this. Trust your instincts, compete at both ends of the floor, try and become a two-way player, and just grow. He’s done a good job of that.’’
White wasn’t the only Bulls player given the green light to showcase his skills against Indiana, with Kris Dunn also getting the start.
While Boylen hasn’t officially announced Tomas Satoransky as the winner of the starting point guard spot for the regular season, the Sun-Times reported on Thursday that it was a done deal. Further evidence of that was offered up by Boylen, with the coach opting to hold out his starting five Friday, meaning no Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, and yes, no Satoransky.
Wendell Carter Jr. (tailbone contusion) is the likely fifth starter if he can heal up soon.
“We’ve had an interesting schedule with a high intensity volume of guys in a short period of time,’’ Boylen said of the decision to sit his starting unit. “We felt this was the game to get some guys off their legs and have them sit this one out.
“We just felt this was the best situation for our team at this point.’’
Although Luke Kornet had his struggles in the loss to the Pacers, he’s already earned one big fan in Bulls camp, with Thaddeus Young praising the big man’s game as highly underrated.
“From playing against him in New York, I knew he was always a pick-and-pop shooter, but now that I’m on the team with him I see that he has a little bit more to his game,’’ Young said of Kornet. “He has the ability to put the ball on the floor and make plays. He has the ability to drive the basketball and get to the rim. He’s just a very active guy.
“But I think one of the biggest things is he’s a better rim protector than people think. He discourages a lot of guys from shooting shots and he alters a lot of shots, and that’s going to be big for us.’’
LaVine continued doing what he could to build the solid team chemistry that has been on display since the players got together for voluntary workouts, taking members of the traveling party to go see Will Smith’s “Gemini Man’’ Thursday night.
Boylen, who’s family lives in the Indianapolis area, didn’t go, but was very proud of the leadership skills LaVine continued taking.
“I sent Zach a text message saying that I appreciate the invite, but I’ve got to use this time too,’’ Boylen said. “But he was great about it.
“Zach’s a very generous person. I said this before, Zach has a big heart. He’s a kind guy. We’re thankful for him too.’’