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Coby White is learning to be a clutch player


minutes later Chicago Bulls lost 108-1 to Cleveland Cavaliers On Wednesday, Coby White was bent over a folding table in the visiting locker room, his eyes focused on a laptop screen.

He could wait to take off his white jersey or be wrapped in ice. He was looking to review two plays: an overcooked pass that bounced off center Nikola Vučević’s hands with 17 seconds left, and a turnover and game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer with 17 seconds left. A few minutes after the loss, the Bulls’ coaching staff had already cut the tape, giving White a chance for a brief, impromptu film session.

DeMar DeRozan looked over the guard’s shoulder, offering advice and encouragement. White tapped the right arrow on the laptop’s keyboard, tracing the game frame by frame, tapping his finger on the screen to point out every detail that might be missed in real time.

After 15 minutes, White identified exactly what he felt went wrong in the game and how he could fix it in the future.

“I thought Vooch was going to go for the three, but he made the right play coming in because I had tackled (Evan) Mobley,” White said. “I knew it would be hard to finish off him. So I guess if I pass to the money, he’ll have a layup or one of his little automatic floats. In moments like that, I need to slow down a little more and make the right read. My intention was right. I just need to pass the ball, slow down. Too much.” “I was going crazy.”

Putting the ball in White’s hands in the last two draw attempts on Wednesday was a very important step for the Bulls. The moments in the locker room after the defeat were even more effective. And White’s teammates and coaching staff understand that if they hope to grow as part of White’s core, they need to let their young guards take chances, even if it ends in a loss.

For the last two seasons, the Bulls have had an automatic option in clutch moments: DeRozan. But as the offense centers around both DeRozan and White, the young guard is taking more shots and taking more risks in clutch moments.

It’s a responsibility White doesn’t take lightly.

“It was probably the first time in my career that I was trusted in moments like that,” White said. “I need those moments to take the right steps to become the player I want to be in this league. It’s all part of the learning process. It’s all part of the journey.”

Although he has stood out this season with his reinvigorated role as point guard, White has not been the go-to player of late.

Sometimes it’s your own choice; White plays more minutes than anyone else in the NBA; This means he is often gassed at the end of clutch play and emphasizes his role as a facilitator of creating shots for his teammates rather than taking the shots himself.

But as the Bulls enter the final stretch of the season, head coach Billy Donovan knows he must balance his team’s options at critical moments.

“DeMar has done a great job for our team,” Donovan said. “He’s incredibly relatable. But there will be times when they will double down on him, there will be times when they will trap him, there will be times when they can put up too much length and size and deny him. He won’t always be the man to save the day. We’ll have different guys step up at different moments.


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