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Coby White's deep range warps Chicago Bulls opponent's defense

Will Gottlieb Avatar
December 13, 2023

On the second night of a back-to-back, the Chicago Bulls hosted the world champion Denver Nuggets in a 114-106 loss Tuesday night. Though Nikola Jokic was strangely ejected in the first half, the Zach LaVine-and-Alex Caruso-less Bulls weren’t able to capitalize on the opportunity.

DeMar DeRozan (14 points on 3-of-13 shooting) had a tough scoring night, but Nikola Vucevic (26 points on 12-of-21 shooting, with 16 rebounds and five assists) helped carry the load.

Coby White’s extended range

Coby White isn’t just shooting threes, he’s shooting deep threes. And making them.

White made two 26-foot threes against the Nuggets on Tuesday, en route to 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 5-of-10 threes. He drilled a 28-foot shot against the Bucks on Monday night and missed one from 31-feet out.

“I’ve worked on a lot this summer, trying to extend my range,” White said. “So like it’s been it’s been beneficial for me. I worked on it a lot this summer.”

White’s deep shooting has completely changed the way team’s guard the Bulls. The fact that he’s such a potent shooting from that far out forces teams to sell out to run him off the line.

“It just changes the floor,” White said. “It especially opens up a lot driving opportunities because I’m so far out. When they’re shifted out, it’s a longer run for them closing out. It also opens up for everybody else too, if I’m able to drag the off-ball defender out a little bit further because they don’t want to leave me, it opens up for driving lanes for everyone else.”

“Yeah, they’re trying to run me off the line,” he said. “So I’m just trying to continue to read a defense and take what they give me.”

White has been able to capitalize on the extra attention he’s getting. When he knocks down a deep three, the next time down, he can pump fake and dribble into a normal three or drive past the closeout entirely and play 5-on-4.

Being able to attack in those scenarios with a progression of reads and options makes White more dangerous than ever. Even when the shot stops falling at an absurd 50 percent clip, teams will respect him enough to run him off the line. When that happens, he’s shown he’s capable of racking up assists (he had eight against the Nuggets) and creating shots for himself in the mid-range and at the rim.

He doesn’t have a set range of how far he can stretch it, but 28-30 feet is pretty darn good.

“I don’t measure how far out I am,” he said. “I’m working on it maybe two or three feet beyond the line and then that’s pretty much it.”

Nikola Jokic’s ejection

With 1:08 left in the first half, Nikola Jokic was thrown out of the game for directing frustration at official Mousa Dagher.

There was quite a bit of confusion in the building following the play. White had just run up the court in transition and it appeared that the officials were waiving off a basket due to an offensive foul. Instead, Jokic was tagged with the double-tech and thrown from the game.

Though it was not technically “Serbian Heritage Night” at the United Center, many Serbian fans came to watch Jokic play. Heavy boos came down on the refs after the ejection.

“It’s the second biggest Serbian population here,” Jokic said. “Belgrade is the first, Chicago is the second. “So maybe they came to see me.”

According to reporting from Darnell Mayberry at The Athletic, Jokic told the official to “call the f—ing foul.”

Jokic hadn’t picked up a previous technical foul, so the ejection seemed to escalate from nowhere.

“I crossed the line,” Jokic told reporters after the game. “But sometimes that word doesn’t cross the line. It is what it is.”

“To be clear, Jokic was ejected after one technical foul because he directed profane language at the official that by our standards warranted an ejection,” Officiating Crew Chief Mark Lindsay told KC Johnson in the Pool Report interview.

“We don’t typically publicly get into exactly what a player said, but the language reached the standard for an ejection.”

Baltic buddy Nikola Vucevic suggested some advice for Jokic: “You can’t do it in English.”

Jokic finished the game with four points, nine rebounds and six assists in 16 minutes of action.

Up Next: Bulls head to Miami for a set of games against the Heat on Thursday and Saturday.

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