The Chicago Bulls need Coby White to heat up. Is the guard finally back into his shooting form?

When Coby White is having a hot night, there isn’t much a defender can do to stop him.

That’s what makes the guard such a lethal shooter. White’s release is a quick twitch. He’s equally comfortable pulling up off the dribble and firing off a sprayout. And his high-arcing shot is a balm to the Bulls offense, which often struggles to create 3-pointers.

But even White isn’t immune to the shooting slump that has gripped the entire Bulls roster.

Individually, every Bulls player except for Alex Caruso opened this season shooting well below their career average. White followed that pattern through the first 15 games, shooting 29-for-89 (32.6%) from behind the arc — a 5-/percentage-point drop from last season.

White went scoreless behind the arc in a pair of games and finished 25% or worse from 3-point range in six others. Despite this dip, he’s remained a top 3-pointer producer for the Bulls, trailing Zach LaVine as the only two players on the roster to average more than two 3-point makes per game.

And in the past week, White has begun to return to the most deadly version of his shooting form. He’s shot 40% or higher while making at least four shots from behind the arc through the past four games, dropping a season-high seven 3-pointers on the Oklahoma City Thunder while shooting at a 58.3% clip on Wednesday.

For a Bulls team struggling to score more than 100 points per game, this 3-point flurry is a welcome boost. But for White, there isn’t a notable difference between those hot and cold nights — except the sound of the ball going through the net.

“I was just open. And then I shot it,” White said after his season-high performance in Oklahoma City. “It wasn’t nothing crazy. I was just open and I was shooting the ball.”

It’s not surprising that White didn’t look like the same shooter to start this season. His shot isn’t different, but every other role White is expected to perform — from playmaking to defending — is different as the Bulls starting point guard.

This also affected White’s finishing inside the arc. White said he is approaching scoring with a different mindset this season, attempting to balance the floor and distribute to his teammates while also attacking the rim off the dribble. This area of White’s shooting has been even shakier than the 3-pointer — 41% overall from the field and 46% from inside the arc, the lowest efficiency since his rookie season.

White has always been a somewhat streaky shooter. It’s a common trait among 3-point specialists. And after experiencing off shooting nights in the past, White knows the key is repetition — trust your form, step into the shot the same, forget you ever missed.

“You can’t control if you’re missing or making shots,” White said. “That’s out of our control. We can’t control it.”

This 3-point shooting acumen is key for an offense attempting to redefine itself this season. The Bulls have succeeded in increasing their 3-point volume this season, rising to 17th in attempts (33.4 average) from dead last in the league last year. But their efficiency has not kept pace, plummeting to 34.9% (22nd in the league) for only 11.6 makes per game.

White can’t make up that entire difference on his own. But his continued consistent production from behind the arc would help the Bulls offense in two ways — boosting scoring while stretching the floor to give teammates a better chance to attack the paint.

For White, making that change just takes patience.

“You know it’s going to start falling,” White said. “Sometimes it’s at the end of the season, sometimes it’s at the beginning. Sometimes it’s in the middle. You just keep shooting and eventually they start falling.”


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