Coby White

How Coby White's growth in reading defenses benefits Bulls

Fellow guard Ayo Dosunmu calls his teammate's improvement 'motivation'

NBC Universal, Inc.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

MIAMI --- The transformation of Coby White is something to behold. And it’s paying dividends beyond the box scores.

“It’s motivation because I understand what he went through his second, third, fourth year. I understand how many people counted him out. He did nothing but work,” Ayo Dosunmu said. “Me seeing that front-hand, that gives me motivation to keep going, gives me motivation to rise to the occasion.

“We push each other to be great. When I see him doing what he’s doing now, it’s nothing but giving me excitement.”

Dosunmu wasn’t too shabby himself in the Chicago Bulls’ 124-116 victory over the Miami Heat Thursday night.

“He’s the reason we won,” White said.

On a night the Bulls again lost Alex Caruso to an ankle injury, White posted his first double-double of the season with 26 points and 11 assists, as well as seven rebounds, while Dosunmu finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Almost remarkably, the guards committed zero turnovers in a combined 75 minutes. They also took turns getting downhill and attacking the rim to stymie any time the Heat tried to mount a comeback. Dosunmu scored on three layups in the third. White scored on five layups in the fourth.

For good measure, Dosunmu sank two huge 3-pointers in the final 2:27, including the dagger 3-pointer in the final minute.

“I’ve been talking to my shooting coach, Coach P (Peter Patton), to try to find out ways to make my shot more effective,” Dosunmu said. “In those moments, it’s about being in the gym late at night and early mornings. It’s repetition.”

Dosunmu also continues to help the Bulls play faster. He’s the most consistent Bull at pushing the ball upcourt after either made or missed shots.

“I want to use my strength, being fast, being strong, being able to slide the defense out, get downhill and make plays,” Dosunmu said. “I think when our tempo is up, we’re at our best.”

This, too, is where White has grown the most. His growth from mostly a scorer who got hot behind the 3-point line to a full-fledged force has been almost astounding.

Early in this victory, he sank four 3-pointers. By the fourth quarter, he was attacking the rim. In both cases, he was reading the defense, making sound decisions.

“I just try to read what’s in front of me,” White said. “In the second half, they were running a lot harder at me. I got some open ones in the first half. So then I wanted to get downhill and if not score, collapse the defense and look for kick-outs.

“I’m continuing to grow. I always say this: I feel like I have a long to go, especially in reading pick-and-roll and manipulating defenses a little bit more. But I’m getting better. That’s all I can really ask for.”

Coach Billy Donovan said White was “great in the pick-and-roll all the way around” and cited a specific example of how much White has grown in this department since Donovan’s first season in Chicago. White used to turn his shoulders sometimes when he’d dribble off screens, making him, in Donovan’s words, a “non player.”

Not anymore.

“If you watch any great offensive player, those shoulders are always at the basket and they play in front and they’re able to turn it down or come off,” Donovan said. “And he’s getting better at making those reads.

“That’s been the biggest thing we’ve tried to show him on film. Earlier on in his career, there are times he just does not do a great job setting up pick-and-roll. It was all straight speed. There wasn’t a lot of detail. And I think he’s getting better now at coming off with some force, coming off and using the screen and being a threat to not use the screen and reject it. He’s put a lot of work into that on his own.”

Donovan said all the credit goes to White because of the work he has put in, work that motivates Dosunmu as well.

Click here to follow the Bulls Talk Podcast.

Contact Us