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Analysis Bulls

Bulls: White and Gafford Impress in Summer League Opener

On Friday night, Coby White and Daniel Gafford made their Bulls debuts. Jalen details his takeaways from their performances.

Rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford suited up Friday night for their pro debuts and proved to be a dynamic duo for Chicago. The Bulls faced off against the Lakers, routing them in a 96-76 victory that featured endless dunks and high energy plays from Gafford, and a crafty up-tempo game from White.

The first play of the game featured a lob pass from White to Gafford. Seeing the two rookies flash their chemistry on the first play of the game was so enjoyable.

The Bulls front office addressed two major needs on Draft night. They selected a guard that can push the pace with much needed play making abilities. Also, they grabbed a center to add depth to a depleted front court, who plays with incredible athleticism around the rim and adds high effort hustle plays.

Coby White finished his first game with 17 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He shot very poorly from the field, shooting (6-18) from the field and (0-7) from three.

And that’s okay.

Throughout the history of Summer League, it’s not unusual for top prospects to have poor shooting percentages. Players like Derrick Rose and Damian Lillard shot below 40% from the field in their Summer League days. With that being said, this league isn’t about efficiency, it’s about the players showing the traits and attributes that they displayed in college on a pro-level.

That’s exactly what Coby White did in his first game. He showed his most valuable attribute consistently, pushing the pace once a shot was made or a defensive rebound was gathered. White’s speed will translate immediately to the NBA and his transition offense is his most valuable asset to the Chicago Bulls.

White and LaVine in the open court is going to be deadly.

White also showed flashes of his understanding of defensive assignments. Recognizing when and when not to switch on players, providing exceptional help defense, and commanding the unit as a leader.

But for how good Coby White was, Daniel Gafford was the best player on the floor Friday night.

Second round pick Daniel Gafford looks like he may have been a steal for Chicago. At first glance, this kid has many valuable traits that will earn him rotational minutes for Chicago.

For starters, Gafford lives and breathes under the rim. All nine of his makes were within the restricted area and his lone miss of the night was a perimeter shot. He finished the game with 21 points on (9-10) shooting, 10 rebounds, and four blocks. His addition to the team brings extreme athleticism. The Arkansas product showed a very similar game to Houston’s Clint Capela.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Nonetheless, he showed very good defensive instincts as well. Collecting four blocks and defending the paint with such high energy. Jim Boylen is going to absolutely love coaching a player who screams every time he dunks.

Coby White spoke to the media following Daniel Gafford’s Summer league performance, stating “He was a monster at the rim, running the floor… You know what you’re going to get from him. He plays hard.”

White said it best.

Gafford definitely benefited from Coby White pushing the ball up the floor on nearly every opportunity he had, which gave him a chance to showcase his value. Proving that this team needs to push the pace more often once the season begins, it creates easy opportunities for players. With a roster this young and athletic I see no reason for the team to not take this approach.

The two rookies will be back at it tonight to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Follow Jalen on Twitter (@jalen_sherman) for more Bulls news and opinion.

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