Coby White’s career-high 36 points were an eye-opener.
Just not for everyone.
Fellow Bulls guard Garrett Temple was fixated on several other numbers in White’s stat line after Wednesday night’s loss to the Kings.
“The biggest thing with him besides the scoring, he had zero turnovers in 40 minutes with seven assists, so [it’s] not like he was shooting everything,’’ Temple said. “[White] was sharing the ball, running this team, making timely baskets, big baskets, only shot nine threes, so he attacked the rim.
“He played really, really big for us, and we are going to continue to have to have him play big for us to win games. I can’t say enough about him. His mentality, 10 rebounds [Tuesday] night, so he’s getting dirty. He fights on defense as much as he can.’’
Temple is obviously a big fan, and that’s nice.
But what coach Billy Donovan and the front office think about White’s progress matters more, particularly his development as a starting point guard.
White has been a hot topic since training camp, and don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Point guards mean a lot in Donovan’s offense, and the bar is set high considering he coached Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul with the Thunder.
Now he has White, a raw, second-year talent who came out of North Carolina as more of a combo guard than a true point guard.
Former coach Jim Boylen couldn’t get out of White what was asked of him. Now it’s Donovan’s turn.
So is White a point guard?
“I think he’s young,’’ Donovan said. “He’s in his second year. I told him this: He got to this level because of what he can do scoring. And if you ask him what he really wants to become, he’ll tell you he wants to become a really good point guard. So there are going to have to be some things that he’s going to have to go through a little bit, right?
“I think it’s going to be a work in progress with him. He’s always had a mentality of looking to score and be aggressive. It’s OK to be aggressive. But a lot of times as a point guard, you have to understand there are four other people that are relying on you organizing things. And obviously, I try to help him from the bench. And we’ve had really good discussions and really good film sessions together. And I want him to be aggressive. I want him to be who he is. I told him he should evaluate his job based on what kind of shots we are getting as [a] team, not maybe how well he is scoring.’’
Donovan is asking a lot from White. The bar is set high, and the Bulls want him to reach for it. Then they can give a fair assessment of what they see in him as they continue to build.
Temple already has made up his mind.
“Loving it man, loving it,’’ Temple said of where White is. “I was just lifting with him after the [Kings] game. Know what I’m saying? This guy plays 40 minutes and after a back-to-back is lifting weights, as well.’’