Bulls will have to get right to the point when fall camp tips off

The front office paid a lot of money to keep Coby White and went out in free agency to make sure Jevon Carter had a nice homecoming. With a hole lingering at the starting point guard spot, may the best man win once camp starts.

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Jevon Carter

Organizations love drumming up fake camp battles to up the ante in the competition department, but the Bulls actually have one when fall camp tips off.

Jeffrey Phelps/AP

The Bulls will actually have a position battle at fall camp in early October.

It won’t be the faux type that general managers and coaches like to float out there in hopes of motivating an obvious starter, but a real day-to-day battle at point guard.

Out is Patrick Beverley, a move that could prove costly because of the toughness he brought. In is Chicago’s own Jevon Carter.

But in the red corner, fighting out of North Carolina, is Coby White.

Touch hands and come out swinging.

It wasn’t only the addition of Beverley that helped the Bulls go 14-9 after the trade deadline. Look at White’s numbers during that stretch.

His assists went from 2.0 per game to 4.5 in the last 23 games. His scoring went from 8.8 to 11.6 per game, and his three-point shooting went from 35.3% to 41.3%.

The eye test was even better.

White played with more physicality offensively and defensively and displayed the swagger that made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

So how much did the Bulls really value White’s progress?

The proof was in the checkbook.

It’s easy for an organization to say how much it appreciates a player’s development, but White was compensated for his. Facing the prospect of White exploring the open market, the Bulls made the combo guard a high priority when free agency opened up, signing him to a three-year, $33 million deal with incentives.

That does carry some weight.

So does experience.

Carter is four years older than White but also has 22 playoff games on his résumé. He’s coming off a season in which he played in 81 games for the Bucks, shooting 42.1% from three-point range as well as bringing an edge to the defensive side.

But his most intriguing attribute?

He’s Chicago.

Coming out of Proviso East, Carter was signed by the Bulls to not only help in the backcourt but also to become the latest player to bring that hometown cooking to the roster.

“Obviously Jevon, local kid, he wears a different pride on his chest being from Chicago,’’ Bulls general manager Marc Eversley told NBC Sports last week. “Looking forward to seeing him put that jersey on right there in the United Center.

“He brings toughness, grit, he brings a competitive spirit to our group that we felt we needed to address, and we’ve done that. Not to mention he’s a 40% three-point shooter, and we talked a lot about adding shooting. He kind of checks all those boxes for us.’’

Well, not all the boxes.

Of the 305 NBA games Carter has played in, he only has started in 48. He doesn’t have the playmaking skills flashed last season by White, who seemed to really build a rapport with big man Nikola Vucevic in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop.

Advantage: White.

But who starts at point guard won’t be nearly as interesting as who closes.

Finishing off opponents was not a forte last season. Then again, a lot of those failures took place because the Bulls lacked a true point guard.

With Lonzo Ball’s knee injury, coach Billy Donovan often went to a point guard by committee, putting the ball in the hands of Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan and letting them dictate the sets.

If White or Carter can be disruptive defensively with Alex Caruso as well run the offense, that could go a long way in establishing a closing core.

Camp will tell a lot, and a real position battle will begin.

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