There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the potential of LaVine and White. We saw both players set records for the Bulls, as they were often the only bright spots in an otherwise frustrating season. White became the Bulls player and NBA rookie ever to hit seven threes in a quarter. LaVine is Bulls the record-holder for made threes in a season.
They combined for 58 games of 20-plus points, and 22 30-plus point performances. LaVine did a lot of the Bulls heavy lifting and even hit 40 points in six games, maxing-out with 49 (including the game-winner) against the Charlotte Hornets.
But there are some important things to note. LaVine, for all of his scoring prowess, has done much of it by sheer volume. He is seventh among starting guards in usage, but he also has the lowest assist percentage and the second-worst assist to turnover ratio among the top-10. Even as a point guard his rookie year his assist percentage was 24 percent.
White has had the typical rookie bouts with efficiency, with 24 games of nine points or less. Mixed in there were three contests where he shot a combined 0-24 from the floor, one of which resulted in a goose egg.
A slash line of .394/.354/.791 is not desirable, especially for a guard. He was drafted as a point guard, but White was always known as more of a scorer than a playmaker, though he will occasionally pull a nice dime out of his bag. He was correcting both by season’s end; posting a .480/.432/.903 line and averaging 4.4 assists over the final nine games.
This article got me thinking. I wasn't the biggest Coby fan when he was drafted, but he definitely earned my respect towards the end of the season. It's a shame we didn't get to see him finish off the season.
Now while we know what they can do scoring, there are two main issues that make this pairing troublesome. Both of them are score first, score second players. And they both have their defensive limitations.
While these are both valid concerns, both of them have shown flashes in both those areas, which leads me to believe a good coach can make it work. Coby has shown he can be a disruptive defender when he's locked in. Now he's definitely got to get better off the ball and fighting through screens, but those should be thing a good coaching staff should be able to work on with him.
Now, I'm probably alone on this, but I saw some games this year where Zach had to be put on the other teams best guard because Sato was either struggling with speed issues or he was on a larger wing. There were some late game situations where Zach was locked in and forced some really tough shots. He was very impressive and showed that when he wants to he can be an average to above average defender.
He'll never be Patrick Beverly on that side of the ball with the offensive role he's asked to play, but he really only needs to be passable here. His biggest issue has always been off the ball defense. I'm honestly not sure what we can do to improve here. He has lapses where he loses his man or doesn't rotate in enough time. Hopefully some new defensive schemes can mask this a bit.
Now on the offensive side of the ball, I don't expect Coby to ever be an 10apg guy, but 6-7apg would be welcome in the right offensive sets. To get the most of the pairing our new coach is definitely going to have to overhaul the offense completely to get more ball movement ala GS and DEN.
Zach's situation is more optimistic. We saw a few games where his shot wasn't falling and he went into straight facilitator mode. He's shown he's a good passer when he wants to be. His only issue is that he hasn't figured out how to mix the playmaking with getting his own consistently. If he can take that step to become that dual threat, I don't see why he can't be a top 10-15 player.
Just wanted to get you guys thoughts. Do you think the pairing can work, or do we definitely need to bring in a pass first player and move Coby to a permanent 6th man role? If we're to be in position to draft someone like Hayes or even a Lamelo, I think that would be the ideal move.