Bulls need more consistent play from guard Coby White

White has been feast or famine too often in March, and coach Billy Donovan has a few theories on the matter.

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‘‘We want him to be aggressive; we want him to attack,’’ Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of Coby White.

‘‘We want him to be aggressive; we want him to attack,’’ Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of Coby White.

Cole Burston/Getty Images

Bulls coach Billy Donovan isn’t quite sure why guard Coby White has been so inconsistent with his shooting lately.

Donovan has his theories and even offered a few solutions, but the issue remains a head-scratcher.

White made a big impact in the Bulls’ game last week against the Pelicans, scoring 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including 5-for-8 from three-point range. But the two games before that and the two since had been dismal.

White scored only two points against the Raptors and five against the Bucks in the two games before the one against the Pelicans, then went scoreless against the Cavaliers and scored only six against the Knicks in the two games after it.

Even with his game against the Pelicans factored in, White entered play Tuesday against the Wizards shooting 14-for-42 overall (33%) and 6-for-23 from three-point range (26%) in his last five games. He was better against the Wizards, scoring nine points on 4-for-9 shooting and 1-for-3 from three-point range.

‘‘We want him to be aggressive; we want him to attack,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘In fairness to Coby, a lot of his role this year has changed. And [with] the things that he’s gone through physically, I give him credit in that he’s tried to keep his head in there. There hasn’t been that level of consistency for him just because [from] game to game our team has changed. He’s the one that’s being impacted by that in a lot of ways.’’

White has been thrown into and out of the starting lineup throughout the season, especially when forward DeMar DeRozan needed a breather and guard Zach LaVine was injured. He also has seen his role change from rotation to rotation, sometimes playing with the ball in his hands and other times playing off it.

But this is also White’s third season. And considering the Bulls can start making a decision about his future with them this summer, it’s pretty much sink or swim now.

‘‘I’m not making excuses for him at all,’’ Donovan said. “I think he’s made some positive strides from last year to this year defensively. And he’s still got to keep doing that. It’s important for him because I think when he gets his defense in there and we can get out in transition, the ball can find him. But we want him to be aggressive, want him to play downhill, want him to take his shots.’’

Earn it

Donovan made it clear that he won’t simply be handing forward Patrick Williams minutes because he was the No. 4 pick overall in the 2020 draft. Williams has to earn them.

Williams has struggled since returning from surgery on his left wrist that cost him most of the season. And with so much at stake for the Bulls in the remaining six regular-season games, Donovan wants to pick the right spots to play him. A lot of that depends on Williams.

‘‘We’ve got to get him to be aggressive with his minutes,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I’m just not going to put him out there for 25 or 30 minutes for the sake of doing that. For the minutes he gets, we need all-out Patrick.

‘‘With young players, there’s a very, very fine line of just giving a guy something without them earning it and not giving them the opportunity to grow, either. I’m not one of these guys that thinks you just take a young player and throw him out there.’’

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