Coby White

Erik Spoelstra speaks strong praise for Coby White ahead of play-in game

Spoelstra compared White's abilities to star guard Tyrese Maxey

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Coby White has exploded this season, elevating his game to a whole new level. It's obvious in the stat sheet and the eye test. He's a whole different player this season.

Ahead of Friday night's do-or-die play-in game against the Heat, head coach Erik Spoelstra commended White's growth this season, acknowledging him as a threat to his team's defense.

"His confidence level has gone up. His usage rate has gone up. The ball's in his hands more," Spoelstra said before the game. "(He) leads the league in volume of pick-and-rolls. He's involved in a lot of them. He's just grown as a player. He's had to weather some ups and downs during his career. You have to respect someone that's kinda done it in a different path and not necessarily immediately."

As Spoelstra said, White didn't come into his own until this season. If this serves to underline how dramatic of a jump White's taken this season, he averaged 9.7 points per game in 74 games last season; he finished this regular season averaging 19.7 points per game in 78 games.

White's always been a scorer with the ball in his hands. Even in the instances over his five-year career when he came off the bench, it was clear his best attribute was putting the ball in the hoop. He flashed that skill incredibly on Wednesday, scoring a career-high (yeah, we're counting it) 42 points against the Hawks.

That's why he's getting looks for the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year award. As Spoelstra said, it's simply been a volume increase for White's offensive prowess. His efficiency and production are all positive trends for his career this season.

Because of his offensive skillset, Spoelstra dared to compare him to one of the best in the league.

"A lot of the things we were talking about with (Tyrese) Maxey, he can do those things," Spoelstra said.

Can White once again be the driving force for the Bulls against the Heat on Friday? Tune in.

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