There has been a lot of talk about how Bulls rookie guard Coby White’s game will translate to the NBA.
Even before the Bulls selected him out of North Carolina with the No. 7 overall pick in the NBA Draft last month, there were varying opinions about everything from White’s speed to his shooting to his decision-making.
With the Bulls playing their Summer League opener Friday against the Lakers in Las Vegas, they are poised to let White start answering the questions about his game — at least if the ankle he tweaked last week allows him to. But even if White is held out against the Lakers, the ankle injury is of little concern.
The Bulls also will get to watch rookie big man Daniel Gafford, who was their second-round pick last month, second-year forward Chandler Hutchison and G League standout Walt Lemon Jr. But White is considered a game-changer. The Bulls hope his blinding speed adds a new element to their offense.
‘‘I think the most important thing for us is when the ball is in his hands,’’ coach Jim Boylen said of the impact White could make. ‘‘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.’’
Those aren’t just words from Boylen, either. One source said White has pushed the pace on offense in the practices leading into Summer League play.
Another thing the Bulls will be watching is whether White will be able to dial down his speed when the situation calls for it. It’s something he admittedly wanted to work on immediately.
‘‘At Carolina, coaches kind of wanted me to really just go one speed, and that’s fast all the time,’’ White said. ‘‘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.’’
That’s not the only thing he has been working on. White’s decision-making and ball security are also about to go under the microscope. He was a converted shooting guard at North Carolina and played like it at times, especially in halfcourt sets.
‘‘Decision-making,’’ White said when he was asked recently what he needed to work on. ‘‘The league is ball-screen-heavy, so decisions off ball screens. Those two things are really key for me.’’
While Summer League play means very little in the big picture of the regular season, a couple of the Bulls’ recent draft picks made an impact in Las Vegas and were able to carry that momentum into the season.
Big man Wendell Carter Jr. received a ton of attention last summer, especially because of his ability to protect the rim, and began the regular season as a starter. Forward Bobby Portis was impressive in his Summer League debut in 2015, showing instant energy and attitude, and rode that wave into his rookie season.
Las Vegas won’t be make-or-break for White by any means, but it’s always a good place to start answering some questions.