Coby White: Intelligence
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
This is an area where White has made significant strides throughout the season. Coming in he was overall an actively bad decision maker, perhaps unsurprising given his past as a shooter and scorer more than a distributor. He plays with tunnel vision when moving downhill, sometimes forcing bad passes off of predetermined roads. Over the season he has improved and rarely makes those sorts of telegraphed mistakes, and in March had a nearly 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He plays within the flow of the offense overall, and in transition his instincts as both a passer and a driver are excellent. Given his age he is likely to realize significantly more growth in this area based on his trajectory this season.
Another area where White has improved since early in the season, he is now passable at maintaining his focus and keeping track of both his man and the ball. He is great at navigating through screens and keeping his head on a swivel to know when a pick is coming, and has great recovery speed is he fails to anticipate movement from his man. His spatial awareness is not great and he is prone to some lapses in focus, but overall he looks like a player who will be a plus in this area down the road.
This is arguably the biggest issue in projecting White into the NBA. He has a poor shot selection, settling for jumpers when driving or moving the ball would serve his team better. He is a quick decision maker who can set up teammates well with an on-target pass, but his reads are average at best and he will often jump without knowing what to do with the ball and force bad passes that lead to live ball turnovers. Better understanding how to use his strengths and reduce mistakes will help him be a better ball-handler for an NBA team.
The way White plays basketball is with decisive action on both offense and defense. With the ball in his hands he will make quick decisions and either attack, pass or shoot without hesitation. This occasionally gets him in trouble as he makes a careless error passing the ball, or leads to a bad shot, but overall it serves him well. Defensively he plays decisively as well, and when he is taken advantage of it is rarely due to freezing as a defender.
Anticipation (A to C)
White does not see the game a step ahead the way many strong point guards do. He is able to find teammates off of cuts and rolls, but anything more layered and he struggles to play ahead of the action. Defensively he has the quickness and general instincts to play the passing lanes about has not translated that into actual results often at the college level. Developing a better feel for how plays will develop would help him reach greater heights.