Basketball

NBA Trades: Where will Coby White Land?

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Former lottery pick Coby White had high expectations when entering the league in 2019. Three years later, those expectations have not been met and speculation about Coby White’s ability has begun to arise. After the many additions made to the already strong backcourt, the Chicago Bulls are looking to move on from White. For Coby White, a change in scenery might do him some good; on Chicago’s roster, White will see the floor sparingly. Limited playing time would only further delay White’s development. But has White’s play been enough to warrant an NBA trade featuring him?

Past Three Seasons

In his rookie season, Coby White was allowed to grow without having to handle the stress of being in the starting five. Coming off of the bench, White averaged 25.8 minutes per night. White’s average of 13.2 points per game put him in the top 10 of highest-scoring rookies for the 2019-20 season. Coby White would share that top spot with other Jordan Poole and Kevin Porter Jr. While slightly disappointing for the 7th overall pick, White showed flashes of promise throughout the season. White’s ability showed the brightest during his 35-point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since that season, White has seemingly been passed in production by Poole and Porter Jr. Other 2019 rookies such as Ja Morrant and Tyler Herro have solidified themselves as superstars.

The 2020-21 season showcased White as Chicago’s starting point guard. An increase of 6 minutes per game leads to just under 2 more points per game. This minimal output inspired quick change as Chicago traded for Lonzo Ball the following summer. Chicago put further emphasis on their backcourt by signing Alex Caruso during free agency. White’s playing time dropped by 3.2 minutes while once again coming off of the bench for the majority of the season; he also averaged a career-low of 12.7 points per game. White also posted career lows in rebounds and steals per game. To stay on the roster, White will need to showcase significant improvements on a restricted amount of playing time.

Player Expectations

Coming into the 2019 draft, White was viewed as one of the premier scorers in the draft class. The one-and-done from the University of North Carolina drew comparisons to some of the top players in the league; Brandon Knight and Jamal Murray were among the few point guards that NBA analysts used as examples of Whites’ potential. White has yet to meet that potential averaging almost 5 points less than Knight and Murray during their respective third years. While White does possess a respectable three-point shot, there is still room for growth. From a scoring aspect, White has all of the abilities to be among the best in the NBA. The problem is that White has yet to put the abilities together for the entirety of a season. Through injuries and streaky performances, it is unclear what version of White we will be seeing that month.

Teams considering making an NBA trade for Coby White will also be looking at his lacklustre stats in rebounding and assists from this past season. While rebounding is considered a bonus at the point guard position, many of today’s backcourt players can make major contributions on the glass. Assists are directly related to the point guard position; from this season’s analytics, it could be concluded that White is not seeing the floor as clearly as hoped this far into his career. Youth is on Coby White’s side as the 22-year-old still has plenty of time to make adaptions.

NBA Trades: Potential Landing Spots

Many teams interested in making a deal for White would have him back up their primary guard. Among those teams, the Minnesota Timberwolves seem like the most likely landing place. Minnesota has a great young guard in D’Angelo Russell. Without Russell on the floor, the Timberwolve reserves tend to go through scoring droughts. Coby White’s addition to their roster would boost their offensive production. A team finding itself in a similar situation is the Memphis Grizzlies. While Memphis did find success while Ja Morant was out during the regular season, adding another scoring guard would cause problems for opposing teams. Defenders designated to guard both Morant and White would be in for a long night. Portland may also be among the teams interested in acquiring Coby White for this next season. White would be getting the opportunity to learn behind veteran Damian Lillard while also contributing to their backcourt. Chicago would most likely require Robert Covington in return for this NBA trade; while it would be a good trade, Covington’s addition would cause Chicago to pay the luxury tax this season.

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