Central Notes: White, Varejao, Turner, Holiday

The Bulls still may target a point guard in free agency this summer, but Coby White is showing indications that he can handle the job, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. While it has taken a while for White to adjust to the NBA, the 21-year-old is making progress at the end of his second season. He had 17 points and 10 assists Thursday night, marking his first game with double-digit assists since January 10.

White has returned to the starting lineup after Tomas Satoransky took over as the starting point guard for 15 games. Coach Billy Donovan believes White has benefited from playing alongside center Nikola Vucevic, who was acquired at the trade deadline, and a slower pace has also worked to White’s advantage.

“I’ve always had perseverance,” White said. “But this year, with ups and downs and being pushed constantly, from the coaching staff to front office to my teammates, I think for me learning to play the point guard position at a high level in the NBA, which is continuing to stay focused and continuing to stay within yourself.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers have received a hardship exception continuation to sign Anderson Varejao for the rest of the season, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Varejao’s first 10-day day contract has expired, but he has re-signed for the season’s final three days. This was Cleveland’s plan from the time Varejao was added to the roster, Fedor adds.
  • Even though he’s a long shot for the award, Pacers center Myles Turner stated his case for Defensive Player of the Year honors Thursday night, according to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Turner leads the league with 3.4 blocked shots per game, but he has missed 23 games due to injury and has no timetable to return. “I understand defense isn’t all about blocks,” Turner said. “That’s something I do best. After this season I’m going to lead the league in blocks in two out of the last three years. I defend the perimeter. I’m one of the better pick-and-roll defenders in the league. My team needs me out there. When I’m not out there, the difference is glaring.”
  • Bucks guard Jrue Holiday earned a $255K bonus by playing in his 58th game of the season Thursday night, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Holiday secured another bonus earlier this week for total minutes played.
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