Bulls' John Paxson On Coby White: 'He's Fearless'

White averaged 19.2 points and shot 43.2 percent on 3-pointers in the preseason.

Mully & Haugh Show
October 22, 2019 - 10:31 am

(670 The Score) In watching Bulls rookie guard Coby White impress in a five-game preseason sample size, executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson was struck by one quality in particular. 

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"The one thing we say internally as we've watched him is he's a fearless kid," Paxson said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Tuesday morning. "He accepts the challenge and the league. He plays fearlessly, and that's a good quality to have as a young kid."

White averaged 19.2 points and shot 43.2 percent on 3-pointers in preseason action, an encouraging display after he struggled mightily with his outside shot in Summer League play. The Bulls drafted White seventh overall in June, and they will plug him in as the lead guard on their second unit when they open the regular season at the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday evening.

What coach Jim Boylen and the Bulls want in that role is for the 19-year-old White to be himself, which means bringing an offensive punch, pushing the pace and being aggressive. 

"The one thing Jim has been trying to do in preseason is get these guys to play faster, obviously, but to read defenses and make plays by reading what's available," Paxson said. "That's often hard for young guys, but Coby has been really good. Jim is not labeling him as a point guard or a shooting guard. He's a scorer.

"Coby right now is in a very good role for himself. The great thing about him is he's a positive kid. He accepts his role. I think he'll see as this goes on that this puts him in a position to be successful. There's not too much pressure on him or any of those types of things. He's been everything we hoped he would be. But I've seen a lot of young kids in this league and the regular season comes upon you, and it's a little bit different."

After an injury-plagued 2018-'19 season, Paxson has been encouraged by the Bulls' improved depth and versatility, which was helped by the additions of forward Thad Young, guard Tomas Satoransky and big man Luke Kornet in the offseason.

"When you look at a team and how you're trying to construct it, obviously you need some balance," Paxson said. "And right now when we look at Coby coming off our bench with our second group and Kris Dunn has been good in preseason with his influence on the defensive end, I think the two of those playing together, both Coby and Kris, has been a positive for us. We want that to carry over into the regular season.

"You can't use youth as an excuse. I think maturity is a big thing. I think our young guys are mature individuals."