Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
There’s a simple reason why Coby White attempted a season-high 13 3-pointers in the Chicago Bulls’ victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night at the United Center.
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“Uh, well, because I was getting in trouble a lot for not taking them,” White said with his typically mischievous grin. “There were a couple film sessions (coach) Billy (Donovan) kind of stopped the film and said shoot the ball when I wasn’t shooting it. Everybody from my teammates to my staff to the front office was telling me, ‘Don’t pass up any shots. Shoot it.’ We don’t care if you go 0-for-10 or 0-for-15.”
Luckily for the Bulls, White tied his career-high by making eight of his 13 attempts, scoring a season-high 31 points to go along with a season-high nine rebounds and six assists.
“He was ultra-aggressive, ultra-confident, decisive. Cob was Cob. We don’t get this win without him,” DeMar DeRozan said. “He was special.”
The night continued a torrid stretch for White, who has the longest current streak in the NBA with eight games with at least three 3-pointers made. White is now shooting a career-high 40.3 percent from 3-point range on a career-high 7.1 attempts.
And this is after an extremely slow shooting start in which his percentage hovered near 25 percent as he tried to balance starting point-guard responsibilities and an improved defensive edge.
“It wasn’t really weighing on me. They all felt pretty good when I was shooting coming off my hand. They just weren’t going in,” White said. “Working with (director of player development) Peter Patton helped me a lot. I finally started to learn my shot. Before this, everybody said I could really shoot so nobody ever taught me how to learn my shot. I kind of just shot the ball. He’s been a big help in helping me learn my shot, why I miss.”
Asked what specifically Patton helped him with, White didn’t hesitate.
“I think the main thing with me was getting back rim, squaring my body up to the rim and then holding my release and holding my follow-through in the basket. I had a tendency to either snatch my follow-through or follow-through to the right,” White said. “And a lot of those times my ball would go right and those would be the times I’d miss. Those are the things I focused on.”
White may not still be a quintessential point guard. But he’s playing the best basketball of his young career.
“He definitely wanted to be the player he’s showing he is,” DeRozan said. “I worked out with Coby a lot this summer. His drive is amazing. He always asks questions. He’s always listening. He always wants to figure out how he can be better, how he can help.”
And building on last season’s strong season that led to his three-year contract in free agency, White’s work is continuing to pay dividends.
“I knew coming into the league that I had a lot to learn and a lot of room to grow. I just tried to get better every day and do what I needed to do to stay consistent,” White said. “My main thing coming into this season was I just wanted to win and play as good as we’re capable of because I love this team and love this group of guys.”