Bulls Notes: Bitim, White, Phillips

Bulls rookie Onuralp Bitim has been a pleasant surprise, emerging in the rotation after having his contract converted from a two-way to a standard deal. He stood out with 10 points and six rebounds against Cleveland on Feb. 28 and scored 17 against Dallas on Monday. In a conversation with Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, Bitim said he tries to emulate the game of Manu Ginobili.

He’s a very rare talent, definitely,” Bitim said of Ginobili. “But I love his basketball IQ on offense, on defense, how he passed the ball, shot the ball, drove the ball. But, yeah, like you said, he’s definitely a rare talent.

Bitim is primarily known as a shooter, but he’s trying to stick in the league by showcasing other aspects of his game.

I was a very good scoring player in Europe and also a good pick-and-roll player,” Bitim said. “I know how to read defenses because that’s what they have been teaching us since a young age. That’s why I think a lot of European players in the NBA know how to read defenses and how to read the games because they’re teaching us at a young age. But right now, I’m trying to just help my team. Whatever they need. If I need to defend, I need to defend. If I need to shoot, I need to shoot. If I need to take a rebound, I need to do that.

Mayberry goes over a handful of other topics with Bitim, including his transition from Europe to the NBA and his early playing days.

We have more from the Bulls:

  • Coby White went through a tumultuous start to his career after being selected with the No. 7 pick in the 2019 draft, averaging 12.6 points per game through the first four years of his career, including a career-low 9.7 points last season. In need of a breakout season, White has delivered, increasing his scoring average to 19.5 PPG in his fifth year and becoming a frontrunner for Most Improved Player. SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell explores how White attacked this past summer, detailing his close work with trainer Johnny Stephene.
  • An MRI on White revealed a left hip strain, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) and the injury wasn’t as serious as it initially looked. According to Wojnarowski, White missed Thursday’s game, but could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson details how White, the NBA’s leader in minutes at 2,242, avoided a major injury and is day-to-day. “He was in some pretty significant pain right when it occurred and then he was in pain afterward,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “When you see a guy go down with that kind of force on top of him, you worry about this thing could be a lot worse. In some ways, we escaped a bullet there so to speak that it wasn’t something more significant or severe.
  • Rookie forward Julian Phillips missed Chicago’s Thursday game against the Clippers due to right foot soreness, according to Johnson (Twitter link). Phillips is averaging 4.1 points in his last eight games, including an 11-point outing against Dallas.
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