Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson promised that the Bulls would get younger and more athletic.
Who cares that it took him three years to finally deliver.
Sorry, Fred Hoiberg.
A draft with no mystery at the top turned into a game of chess starting with the fourth overall pick. The Bulls stayed the course at No. 7, landing speedy guard Coby White from North Carolina on Thursday.
Yes, the same White who’s always reminded that he broke Michael Jordan’s freshman scoring numbers at UNC with 562 points.
But the selection of White didn’t really address the need for a point guard.
The 6-5 White eventually could turn into a starting NBA point guard, but he was a converted shooting guard for the Tar Heels and has a lot of work to do on his passing and decision-making.
‘‘I mean, everything is going to be a transition for anyone because you’re playing against such higher competition, more athleticism, better players,’’ White said after he was selected. “But I feel like my transition will go over well. I learn quickly.’’
Speed is one aspect he doesn’t lack, however. No player is quicker with the ball, and his ability to drive by defenders will make him as exciting a backcourt player as the Bulls have had since Derrick Rose was blowing by opponents. White also can play off the ball, using his speed in catch-and-shoot situations.
It’s that off-the-ball ability that Kris Dunn lacked this past season, forcing the Bulls to look for backcourt help. With coach Jim Boylen leaning on an offense with multiple ballhandlers, Dunn often looked uncomfortable setting up for a corner three or moving without the ball, especially when Boylen wanted Zach LaVine to take over as the playmaker.
Boylen grew unhappy with Dunn’s decision-making and ball security and leaned on LaVine late in games.
Hoiberg, replaced by Boylen in December, always coveted a dynamic point guard for his high-octane offense but was never provided with one.
The intrigue with White centers on how, and if, he’ll make the conversion.
As for the rest of the draft, the top three picks went as advertised. The Pelicans grabbed Zion Williamson with the No. 1 pick, Ja Morant went to the Grizzlies at No. 2 and the Knicks landed RJ Barrett with the third pick.
The machinations, however, started in the hour leading up to the draft when the Hawks moved up four spots to No. 4 and the Timberwolves jumped up from No. 11 to the sixth overall spot.
All the moving and shaking might have helped the Bulls, with the Hawks targeting De’Andre Hunter as a must-get to address their defensive woes, then the Cavaliers taking a point guard — Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland — for the second consecutive season in the first round.
The T-wolves became the wild card, almost making up the Bulls’ mind for them when they nabbed swingman Jarrett Culver. That flushed White, whom they welcomed with open arms, down to the Bulls.
The feeling was mutual, especially when White met with Boylen last week in a predraft interview.
“I learned that he’s my type of coach,’’ White said. “Straightforward, he’s very hands-on, which I loved. He even studied my game, showed me film, showed me everything I can work on, everything that’s going to translate, and I loved it. I told my agent and my family after the meeting with coach Boylen that it was . . . the best individual meeting I had with a coach.’’
With their second-round pick (38th overall), the Bulls added big man Daniel Gafford for some physicality around the rim.