Name: Coby White
Year: Freshman (19 years old)
School: North Carolina
Weight: 185 Ibs.
Statistics: 16.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.1 APG, 35.3% 3PT, 80.0% FT
Speed, scoring, and ball-handling, not in that order. White may be the fastest player in the draft and much like prime John Wall, his ability to blow by defenders with ease is a menace both in transition and in half court. What separates him from many other quick guards we’ve seen taken in the lottery in recent years, however, is his shooting ability. White is an adept shooter from distance and mid-range and can get his own shot with ease. He has good mechanics and a quick release, but can also shoot over smaller guards given his size at 6’5″. He shot over 35% from three last year on 6.7 attempts. White’s ball-handling is also impressive. He has an array of dribble moves and can break down defenders to get to the rim. He’s not an elite playmaker, but he has solid court vision and is a better passer than his 4.1 APG last season would suggest. White also showed the ability to finish with either hand at the rim.
While he has good size for a point guard, White’s frame is relatively slim and it can cause trouble at times. Against bigger guards, White can be pushed off the block or muscled up against. He’s not exactly a natural point guard, either, but more of a combo guard with a scorer’s mindset. One would think White’s athleticism and quick hands would be valuable as an on-ball defender, but that wasn’t the case at UNC last year. He struggled throughout the year, as his lack of awareness and discipline on defense was evident. White’s wingspan (6’4″) is below-average, too, which could be troublesome at the pro level. He wasn’t a plus defender in college and doesn’t project to be one in the NBA.
White possesses all the tools to be a successful offensive player at the next level. His combination of speed, ball-handling, and shooting mirrors that of many of today’s top NBA point guards and while he may not ever reach that level, he’ll find his niche as a scoring guard in some fashion. White has good size for position and really pushes the ball in transition, where his blazing speed comes in handy. White has all-star upside but will likely struggle on the defensive side of the ball, at least in his rookie season. If he can add muscle and defend close to an average level, there’s no telling how good he could be. After all, he’s only 19 years old.
NBA Player Comparison: Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
White has many of the same traits as Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard but isn’t as talented or shifty as either of those players. Someone like Jamal Murray seems like a more adept comparison. Like Murray, White is more of a scoring guard than natural point guard, but can thrive as the lead ball-handler in an offense nonetheless. Both Murray and White can score at all three levels but are especially impressive in terms of shooting off-the-dribble. Murray has improved in each of this three NBA seasons and averaged 18.2 PPG for the Nuggets last season on 36.7% shooting from three. White is more than capable of reaching those numbers and potentially ascending to a higher level of play.