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Sports Saturday

Bulls’ Coby White has sights set on being the starting point guard

White had one start at that lead guard spot before the shutdown last season, and it didn’t exactly ease some concerns. Now he may have to possibly beat out a healthy Kris Dunn to get back in that starting rotation.

There’s not much game video to support Coby White’s case to be the Bulls’ starting point guard.
There’s not much game video to support Coby White’s case to be the Bulls’ starting point guard.

One game.

That’s all the film Coby White has in his file as a starting point guard when a new-look Bulls front office has to start making tough assessments.

And it wasn’t exactly a game that screamed, “Yeah, you’re the guy, Coby!’’

Yes, the March 10 home game against Cleveland was a win, and White led the Bulls with 20 points, but as far as being an NBA lead guard? Not when White had nine turnovers to five assists.

That’s what White will continue to fight.

Scouts questioned his ability to play the point coming out of North Carolina because of his court vision and decision making, and those two traits haven’t exactly improved. Unfortunately for White, the coronavirus shutdown made sure they couldn’t.

When he was finally handed the keys to the car after coming off the bench the entire season, he got exactly one game to begin the development process before the league boarded up the doors.

No biggie. After all, an NBA offseason allows young players to get back in the gym to work on their game, get a second run in Summer League, and watch film with the coaching staff to fix the holes. Except this offseason has not allowed any of that.

That’s what White is dealing with.

“Work out, that’s about it,’’ White said earlier this week, when asked what he’s exactly been able to do since the shutdown. “I was able to hoop a little bit when I was home, but I’ve been back in Chicago for two or three months. Really, all I can do is come to the gym, work out, kind of doing the same thing every day — one player per basket, get some stuff done in the weight room. Other than that, it’s all it’s really been.’’

That’s why this current mini-camp is so vital for White and his teammates.

Being excluded from the Orlando bubble was a competitive disadvantage that may take the eight teams left out years to get over. Well, seven, considering Golden State is poised to simply reload when their championship roster gets healthy.

The NBA offered up these mini-camps to try and give the have-nots something to build on, and White said they have to embrace the situation — fair or unfair.

“I think the big thing is just all coming together, getting a feel for each other,’’ White said. “Just getting that team chemistry back. We’ve been away from each other for so long and we haven’t played with each other in so long, so for us to just get back all on the court together it’ll be good for us. And you know, with everything going on in the world, some of us haven’t really played basketball or been down and played five-on-five in so long, so in that aspect it’ll be good. Cause for a lot of us basketball is our therapy.’’

As of Friday, the Bulls players we’re still working out individually, with the full intrasquad scrimmages coming next week.

The main battle when the ball is rolled out? Heck yeah it’s White vs. Kris Dunn.

White feels he will be the starting point guard for this franchise moving forward, while Dunn – a restricted free agent this offseason – is not only fighting for his old starting job back, but a new contract, whether that comes from the Bulls or elsewhere.

White reminded the media of his versatility to play either guard spot, but make no mistake, he also made it very clear what his goal will be whenever the 2020-21 season is set to tip-off.

“I think moving forward my primary position is point guard but I also can play off the ball because I can score and shoot it so well,’’ White said. “So I think that this past year showcased that I can be a point guard but I can also play off the ball at times when I need to.’’