Donovan has not made life easy for White as he continues trying to grow into a starting NBA point guard, but White wouldn’t want it any other way.
Coby White admitted that life with new coach Billy Donovan hasn’t been easy on him.
And the Bulls point guard loves every minute of it.
“The goal for me is to be able to lead a team in the NBA,’’ White said. “The coaching staff has been patient, but don’t get me wrong they’ve all challenged me, especially Billy. He’s definitely challenged me on both ends of the court on being a point guard. He’s tough on me, but that’s all you can ask for from a coach is to be tough on you and to get the best out of you.
“I’m going to take on that challenge. I’m going to keep growing, keep maintaining. I know it’s going to be ups and downs, it’s going to be bumps in the road, but as long as I keep growing and keep going upward that’s all I can ask for.’’
The hope is there is growth happening, because there’s undoubtedly been the “ups and downs’’ for the second-year guard.
Just in the last five games heading into the contest with the Lakers, White has shown the good, the bad, and the ugly. There was the 13-assist game against the Clippers, and the 18-point, eight-assist game against Charlotte on Friday that definitely had Donovan praising the former No. 7 overall pick.
But then there was four-turnover, 8-for-20 shooting performance in the Jan. 15 loss to Oklahoma City that had the coach again challenging White to be better.
As far as the ugly? White was all but a no-show in the win in Dallas last Sunday, going 0-for-5 from the field and handing out just four assists.
While Donovan expected some inconsistencies in White’s on-the-job training to become the lead guard, he’s also been reiterating to him that if the shot isn’t falling, the night is not lost.
“He can do other things to help,’’ Donovan said of White. “He can defend. He can get in there and help rebound. He can start the break. He can get into the teeth of the defense. He can get fouled. He can make an extra pass.
“And we need him to do it. He just can’t become – I’m not saying he is doing that – but he can’t become one-dimensional and just be a guy that catch and shoots or just tries to score off his jump shot. He’s got to do other things, because he’s capable of it.”
Welcome back Carter?
Starting center Wendell Carter Jr. missed his second consecutive game on Saturday, dealing with a bruised right quad, and while there has been progress made in his recovery, Donovan wasn’t going to speculate about Monday’s game with Boston
“He’s made progress, he feels better,’’ Donovan said.
The problem for Carter is the Bulls will be off Sunday, so with no practice scheduled, getting treatment remains his only option.
Timing is everything
While Donovan said he has been given no clear explanation of why the tip-off times for the game against the Lakers and the one coming against Boston were moved from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., he had a pretty good idea it had to do with the league’s protocols with the coronavirus.
“If I was guessing I think some of it could be the number of times these guys are testing,’’ Donovan said. “Maybe an hour push back gives them more time to get results, more time to contact trace, more time for the guys to rest. It’s changed over the last couple of weeks in terms as the way the testing is done and the number of times we’re having to test.’’