It has been a disappointing year for the Chicago Bulls, though one of the few bright spots has been their 24-year-old guard Coby White.

The seventh overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft actually had a solid sophomore season, averaging 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 2020-21. However, the arrival of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball during the 2021 offseason stunted his growth as he struggled to find a consistent role over the next two campaigns.

White’s golden opportunity finally opened up this season with the extended absences of Ball and Zach LaVine and he did not disappoint. The fifth-year guard appeared in 79 regular season games for the Bulls–starting in 78–where he played 36.5 minutes per game. He put up his best statistical season of his career to date with 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists as he finally exceeded his averages from his sophomore year.

What’s even more encouraging about White’s statistics is that both his field goal shooting (44.7%) and shot attempt (15.3 per game) numbers are simultaneously career-highs, showing the improving efficiency by which he is able to score his points.


White made sure to keep his breakout campaign going–at least for one more contest–as he led Chicago to a win in the 9-vs-10 play-in game versus the Atlanta Hawks. He scored 42 points on just 21 shots versus the Hawks while also tallying three three-pointers, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, and zero turnovers in 43 minutes of action.

The UNC alumnus looked like the best guard on the floor for most of the contest on a night where he shared the court with Atlanta’s pair of All-Star guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. His efforts allowed the Bulls to pull off a 131-116 blowout victory versus the Hawks which secured them a second play-in game, this time for the East’s eighth seed, with the Miami Heat.

The ascendance of White not only gives Chicago’s brutal season a silver lining, but also gives them a legitimate building block for their future. This is especially crucial since DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, two of the team’s three players with NBA All-Star experience, are already at the tailend of their prime years.

White’s breakout just might have secured his spot as the team’s main point guard moving forward, especially since the nature of Ball’s knee injuries will likely make it difficult for him to immediately return to his pre-injury form. If Ball does recover and play like he did prior to his knee surgeries, a tall backcourt with him–a 6’6 defensive-minded guard–and the 6’5 White would pose a match-up problem to most opponents.

In the meantime, the Bulls will need White to pick up from where he left off when they face the Heat if they are to qualify for the first round of the postseason. When White is at his best and hitting his shots, Chicago is difficult to stop as he opens up opportunities for the rest of the team. The future is bright for the Bulls and White and if he keeps on playing this way, it is only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.