Coby White Talks Most Improved Player Candidacy, Leadership, Development

Coby White has emerged as a top candidate for Most Improved Player honors this season. As he tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the Bulls‘ point guard feels he is just one among many legitimate contenders for the accolade.

Through 71 games this season, White is averaging a career-best 19.3 PPG on .444/.381/.839 shooting, along with a career-best 5.3 APG and 4.7 RPG.

“There are a lot of guys playing well this year,” White said. “It would mean a lot if I would get that award—just to show the work. And I always say, it would set a standard for other young guys in the league who maybe wasn’t looked at as a power right away. Like, ‘Aw, he was the seventh pick’ and not written off so much but looked at as, ‘He can’t make that leap.’ A lot of people say the leap comes from your second to third year. Mine came from my fourth to fifth year. There’s always still time. I’m only 24. Just continue to trust that work.”

Their conversation is well worth reading in full. Here are some other highlights.

On why he considers his improvement this season more meaningful than his performance in his second pro season (when he averaged 15.1 PPG and 4.8 APG):

“My second season was cool, bro. But we weren’t as competitive as we are now. I think that’s what makes a huge difference. We’re playing for something now. My second season, it was cool. I averaged whatever. But I just feel like this year . . . my second year I was just out there playing. Like, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I was just out there hooping. This year, I know what’s going on. I know more of what I’m doing. Obviously, I still have to get better. But I feel I’ve grown as a player and person so much since that second season that this feels different.”

On how he’s evolving as a leader:

“I’m comfortable. I was talking to AC (Alex Caruso) last game. I was telling him: I found my voice last year. OK, cool. The challenge this year is with the importance I have on the team, with the role that I have, with the amount of minutes I play, how can I continue to lead on a consistent basis? In the course of a game, emotions are high. A lot of variables go into each game. You’re human. You’re obviously aware of how you’re playing in any given game.

And that’s what I was talking to AC about and he said being consistent with your voice no matter how it’s going for you was one of the hardest things he had to learn. No matter how the game is going or how I’m playing, I want to continue to consistently use my voice and bring my spirit to uplift my teammates and not do it on an inconsistent basis. I feel like I have to continue to grow there.”

On how he’s working with player development coach Ty Abbott to improve his endurance:

“He talked about me solidifying myself as a player now so going into next season, we have to sit down and figure out a way where you still feel comfortable and in a rhythm without putting too much wear and tear on your body on those off days. I’ve had to change a lot of stuff in my routine, even game-day routines. After every shootaround, I used to shoot for 30 or 40 minutes. Now it’s down to like 12 to 15 minutes. It’s been a learning process. It’s an exciting learning process. This is what you want as a player. But it has been difficult to adjust.”

View Comments (2)