You’d think the fact the Bulls moved back three spots in the NBA draft order after their terrible Tuesday night at the NBA draft lottery would make it more difficult to figure out who they’d pick because the pool of guys worthy of a No. 7 pick is a lot larger than guys worthy of getting picked at No. 1, 2, or 3.
But after sifting through the scores of mock drafts that popped up after the lottery Tuesday night, North Carolina’s Coby White is a downright consensus.
There are five guys who will probably go No. 4 through No. 8 in the draft: Jarrett Culver, De’Andre Hunter, Darius Garland, Coby White, and Cam Reddish. The Bulls need a point guard so Garland or White are the most likely candidates.
The Phoenix Suns, another team that needs a point guard, pick one spot ahead of the Bulls. Garland is regarded as the better prospect right now, making it likely the Suns take him and the Bulls are left with White.
Not buying that analysis? Here’s what the mock drafts say...
Coby White: 6-foot-5-inch point guard; North Carolina
16.1 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game , 4.1 assists per game, 35.3 percent from 3-point land
The Bulls need a point guard, and at No. 7, they can get a score-first option in Coby White who has plenty of room to grow and who fits the Bulls’ long-term plan to win. Chicago could absolutely have lucked into Ja Morant or even Darius Garland, but White, from a schematic standpoint, actually figures to be a really good fit. His decision-making will be a work in progress but he’s going to score efficiently. He broke Michael Jordan’s freshman scoring record at UNC and is one of this draft’s most prolific bucket-getters.
Chicago is set with Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen up front, and with Kris Dunn currently their only long-term option at point guard and coming up on restricted free agency next summer, this pick should offer them a chance to address the backcourt. White possesses a good deal of upside, tied to his size, perimeter shooting and developing lead guard skills. His trajectory has been encouraging, and while the Bulls are also tied to a shot-happy guard in Zach LaVine, White is the most intriguing long-term fit at this spot.
This is the mock draft that changed my opinion on Coby White from meh to okay maybe there’s a chance he’ll turn into something.
Coby White shouldn’t have a label entering the draft. He’s generated interest with well-rounded skills from both backcourt spots.
He ranked in the 97th percentile as a pick-and-roll passer and the 95th percentile as a spot-up player, demonstrating impressive ball-screen playmaking instincts and a persuasive shooting stroke.
White/Lauri Markkanen pick-and-rolls could be fun. When teams collapse on a driving Zach LaVine, the Bulls need as many good spot-up shooters as possible. The question with White is can he run an offense and will he be willing and able to defer to other players offensively at the expense of his own offense.
White inherited starting point guard duties from four-year starter Joel Berry as a freshman at North Carolina and helped lead one of college basketball’s fastest and most potent offenses. More of a scorer than a true facilitator, White was elite on catch-and-shoot opportunities while also showing an ability to make plays for himself and others in transition. He’ll need to prove himself as a pull-up shooter off the dribble.
White has potential to grow into that player. He’s lightning quick at 6-foot-5, with the ability to play uptempo and get into transition. He’s also a high-level pull-up shooter, which puts pressure on the defense and opens up lanes for his teammates. The reason, though, he’s not quite what Morant is as a prospect at this stage is the natural feel for making plays for his teammates. He’s still working on that aspect of his game in half-court settings. If that comes along as he continues learning how to play with good players around him — something he didn’t really do much of at the high school level — White could be really strong starting point guard. Even if he doesn’t, I’d expect him to get buckets for a long time at this level. There would also be the added benefit of the way Dunn and White complement each other as options, in addition to both being in the bigger, longer lead guard department, which would help the team not have to change its defensive scheme when one leaves the floor.
For the record, all these mock drafts so far have the Suns snatching Garland one spot ahead of where the Bulls are picking.
De’Andre Hunter 6-foot-7-inch guard; Virginia
15.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists, 43.8 percent from 3-point land
Here’s some context for how Stone arrives at the Bulls picking Hunter. He has the Los Angeles Lakers taking Garland [there are rumors that the Lakers may be shopping Lonzo Ball so there’s some substance there]. He has the Suns taking White one spot ahead of the Bulls who are left with Hunter.
This selection would no doubt be subjected to plenty of jokes about the Bulls’ alleged preference for older college players - even though that hasn’t born itself out at the top of recent drafts.
Hunter would be an interesting fit in Chicago, where he could play at small forward alongside Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. while also being able to slide in at power forward next to one of them, creating a more versatile frontcourt in some lineups. Hunter isn’t a high-upside play, but he’s a quality defender who can knock down shots. That should be enough to keep him in a rotation for years.
Cam Reddish: 6-foot-8-inch forward; Duke
13.5 points per game, 33.3 percent from 3-point land
People forget that at one point Reddish was a hotter commodity in high school than his more heralded Duke teammates Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Cowley has the Bulls snatching Reddish with White still on the board.
The Bulls need shooting and there isn’t another point guard worth it at No. 7, so there you go. Reddish had an up-and-down season, but the Bulls love their Duke players.