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Bulls’ entire roster is under scrutiny, starting with Coby White

While coach Billy Donovan is in frequent discussions with the front office, details of how the bosses feel about the roster remain quiet. That doesn’t mean the players aren’t under close watch in a pivotal season.

“I don’t feel like I’m in a fish bowl being evaluated, I’m just going out there to play,’’ Bulls point guard Coby White said. “They believe in me, so that’s all I can ask for.”
“I don’t feel like I’m in a fish bowl being evaluated, I’m just going out there to play,’’ Bulls point guard Coby White said. “They believe in me, so that’s all I can ask for.”
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

When there was a need to be aggressive, Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas didn’t hesitate.

For example, Karnisovas fired former general manager Gar Forman upon being hired and pursued coach Billy Donovan as soon as he hit the open market.

In other situations that have called for him to be more deliberate, Karnisovas has operated like a chess player with no time limit on his next move. It took him months to evaluate and make a decision on former coach Jim Boylen, and he seems to be playing the slow game in evaluating the players he has inherited.

Donovan explained that process, admitting that he and Karnisovas — along with new general manager Marc Eversley — speak frequently, but that doesn’t mean the bosses are sold on anything they’ve seen at this point one way or the other.

“We obviously have dialogue -after practices, after games,’’ Donovan said. “We really, to be honest with you, haven’t gotten into great detail about each individual player. I mean, I’m trying to help the team as best I can as a coach, and I’m sure Marc and Arturas are evaluating these games, evaluating the personnel, evaluating myself, evaluating everything.

‘‘I’m always open to discussion or dialogue, suggestions, and so I’ll frequently ask him, ‘Anything you’re seeing rotation-wise, anything we can change to be better?’ You know, he’s been great, but there’s been no direction as far as, ‘Hey, you need to do this, you need to do that.’ He’s letting me coach the team and try to make the decisions that are best, but certainly I respect him and Marc and everybody in the front office.

“We’re in it emotionally as coaches. From a front-office standpoint, when they’re actually away from it and watching, sometimes they can give you good insight or thoughts, but it’s not like I have a lot of dialogue about each individual player. It’s so early in the season, we want to see probably a lot more, to be honest with you.’’

There are no untouchables, no sure foundation pieces to build around.

The Bulls’ roster can be flipped rather easily over the next year, so this will be a thorough, top-to-bottom evaluation.

Unfortunately for Coby White, he likely is at the top of that list.

Point guards play a major role in Donovan’s offense, and he has coached two elite exponents — Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul — with the Thunder. That’s an almost impossible bar to reach, but Donovan hopes White strives to scale those heights.

The big issue with White remains his understanding of when to get his points and when to make sure his teammates get theirs.

Donovan reiterated Wednesday that he was seeing improvement from White in that department, but he also isn’t averse to using Tomas Satoransky at the point and kicking White to shooting guard at certain moments, which he did in the victory over the Wizards.

As for White, he can expect to be badgered by the media to rate his latest outings and overall progress.

“I don’t feel like I’m in a fish bowl being evaluated; I’m just going out there to play,’’ White said. “They believe in me, so that’s all I can ask for. I’m just going out there to play every night and trying my best to help my team win.’’