It’s the Chicago Bulls Podcast 40 hosted by Marcus Couch and Wyse Black. We're talking about the future of White and Gafford, Off-Season Training Wish Lists, and a Spin Around the NBA Rumor Mill.
Welcome to the Bulls Podcast, coming to you from BullsPodcast.com. This is where we bring you the latest news, reviews, rants, rumors and opinions on the players, coaches and front office of the Chicago Bulls.
We’ve got several topics for this episode. Including:
White and Gafford Predictions for the Season
Our Wish List for Player Off Season Training
Another spin around The NBA Rumor Mill
We’ll be right back after this quick time-out.
Bulls Summer League
White was a mixed bag in Las Vegas, showing the ability to push the pace, get to the rim with a lightning-quick first step and knock down some mid-range jumpers. But he was also careless with the ball, made just 3 of 30 3-point attempts (and two of those makes came in a 20-second span) and didn't shoot above 44% in any of the five games he appeared in. He's still quite raw running the point, so the inefficiency was expected. The flashes he showed at times told much more of the story.
In comparison, let’s frame those stats with a common reference point to Bulls fans. Cam Payne.
Coby White Summer League Stats: 15.0 points, 4.8 assists, 33.7% FG, 10.0% 3FG, 3.8 turnovers, 30.8 minutes
Comparison: Cameron Payne, 2015, Thunder: 18.8 points, 4.0 assists, 43.6% FG, 28.6% 3FG, 2.5 turnovers, 30.0 minutes
Don’t let this fool you though, as a lot of our guys didn’t do well in Summer League:
Summer League rookie stats:
Marquis Teague: 10.6 points, 29.4% FG
Derrick Rose: 9.5 points, 29.4% FG
Tyrus Thomas: 16.2 points, 44.4% FG
Lauri Markkanen: 14.0 points, 29.3% FG
Erik Murphy: 11.6 points, 54.8%
Cam Bairstow: 10.2 points, 53.1% FG
Joakim Noah: 6.4 points, 47.4% FG
A couple of days before the 2019 NBA draft, Donovan Mitchell talked to USA Today Sports about Coby White being a sleeper in the draft. Mitchell on White: “He's a dog. He's good, really good.” Let’s see if that recognition holds true.
Wyse, what do you think Coby White is going to have to do RIGHT NOW in the offseason to improve the holes that we saw in him during those Summer League games?
The Chicago Bulls filled a much-needed role when they drafted Arkansas big man Daniel Gafford with the 38th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Frontcourt depth was an issue for Chi-Town last season, and it wasn’t going to improve for future seasons unless the Bulls made some smart decisions. Drafting Gafford was brilliant, but there were still some questions as to how NBA-ready he was coming out of college.
In the 2019 NBA Summer League, Gafford was amazing. He showed he’s ready to be the Bulls’ backup center immediately. Wendell Carter Jr. still projects as a far better player than Gafford, so it’s not like the Bulls found a starter in the second round. But Gafford showed he’s ready to provide at least 20 meaningful minutes per night, which says a lot about his NBA-readiness.
One of the most desired types of big men in today’s NBA is a rim-running, shot-blocking athlete (see Clint Capela, Jarrett Allen and Willie Cauley-Stein). Gafford fits that mold. He rolls to the basket hard after setting screens and he protects the rim ferociously. He also crashes the offensive boards with tenacity – something that the fans are going to love once the season starts.
Gafford was clearly one of the best big men in Las Vegas this summer. But there are still parts of his game he needs to improve. For example, sometimes when he catches the ball near the bucket, it takes him too long to get his shot off, allowing him to get blocked at the rim. This is something he’ll learn with time, so I’m not worried. But it’s important to note that he wasn’t perfect this summer.