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How Bulls benefit from Coby White’s world-class education on defense


#At the very least, #Russell #Westbrook will drop a double-double on #Coby #White, regardless of what the #Wizards guard’s box score says after #Thursday’s matchup.

#Heck, #Westbrook may post another triple-double by game’s end, as he did in #Tuesday’s #Bulls’ victory.

#But the scheduling quirk of back-to-back games against the same opponent, introduced to limit travel in a nod to COVID-19, will at the very least give #White a double dose of #Westbrook.

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#And this comes after #White’s matchup against #Steph #Curry and #Malcolm #Brogdon in his previous two games.

#Only the opener, in which #Zach #LaVine (unsuccessfully) took on the challenge of guarding #Trae #Young, did #White not draw a doozy of a defensive assignment against his point guard counterpart. #And it’s not like #Cam #Reddish is a night off either.

#It’s all point of the maturation process for #White, who not only is being asked to run the team and display decision-making improvement but guard a beast seemingly nightly.

#Westbrook did what he does in the first matchup, posting 21 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists to finish plus-3 in 38 minutes. #But #Westbrook’s six turnovers, and #White’s plus-10 night that featured 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and just two turnovers, show that the #Bulls’ second-year guard is embracing the challenge.

“Being a starting point guard, there’s going to be challenges every night in this league so you got to stay ready,” #White said. “I feel like I’ve been solid so far, especially the last two games, I feel like I was solid against two superstars in the league.”

#Westbrook got to some of his preferred midrange spots at times, and #White also had plenty of team help on the assignment. #And individual defense doesn’t stop talents like #Westbrook and #Curry, who heated up late in the #Warriors’ victory.

#White also knows the #Wizards—and #Westbrook—will come with adjustments in the back-to-back set.

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#Just trying to limit his paint (time), his to-the-rim drives. #You guard someone as talented as him, you gotta give up something. I’d rather give up the mid-range jumper than the rim where he’s elite,” #White said. “You can’t stop those guys from getting their 25 (points), so just try your best to hold them and not let them get into a nice little rhythm. #We were trying to deny transition. #Me and my teammates were building a wall in transition, have two guarding him.

“I know my brothers are behind me on the defensive end. They’re helping me. #As long as I’ve got them behind me, I’m pretty confident.’’

#Before the #Pacers game, coach #Billy #Donovan cited three areas in which he wanted to see defensive growth from #White. #He wanted him to be more of a physical presence on the ball, particularly in fighting over screens. #He wanted to see quicker and more efficient help-and-recover moves when off the ball. #And he wanted #White, as the primary point, to get back in transition.

#Asked following #Wednesday’s practice in #Washington how #White is faring in those departments, #Donovan said #White has “done a really good job.” #He elaborated.

#Obviously, #Russell #Westbrook is a hard guy to contain in the low post. I thought his post defense in the game was positive,” #Donovan said. “We helped him. #We got down there and tried to shrink the floor a little bit on him. #But the other night, he’s dealing with a guy like #Steph #Curry that’s running around, coming off screens and it’s different coverages.

“Coby’s worked hard at it and he knows the importance of him being good at those things. I think from game-to-game, those responsibilities are going to change some. #It’s a lot on his plate because you’re asking him to also run the team, make decisions offensively, get us in and out of things as it relates to sets and different concepts we’re trying to run. Then he’s obviously got to defend.”

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#On the very first possession of preseason, #John #Wall, who hadn’t played in 18 months, blew past #White for a layup and a primal scream and a flex. #Donovan pointed to how #White responded much better defensively when the #Bulls and #Rockets played two nights later.

#He usually is a guy that responds from setbacks, which is I think a real positive trait for a young player,” #Donovan said.



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