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The Chicago Bulls have been battling a COVID-19 outbreak since early December. Just three days after all previously affected players returned to the roster, Lonzo Ball entered NBA health and safety protocols.

The impact of Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball was a key part of the Bulls’ initial success. He is averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 41.8% from the field and 41.9% from three. Plus, Ball has been one of the Bulls’ best defensemen. The team is ninth in points awarded so far this season.

The Bulls acquired Ball this offseason as part of a signing-and-trade deal with the Pelicans. After an investigation, the NBA docked Chicago a second-round pick for tampering in order to secure the deal. However, Ball’s play lived up to what it took to close the deal.

Lonzo Ball likely replacement

In addition to Lonzo Ball, Alfonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley are also on COVID protocols. In addition, Alex Caruso is still absent with a foot injury. He would be Ball’s typical replacement. This means Coby White will have a huge opportunity to prove his worth.

White and Zach LaVine are the only remaining Bulls players in the Gar Forman / John Paxson regime. LaVine, clearly a centerpiece, is ready to work on an expansion to stay in Chicago. On the other hand, White’s future hangs in the balance. Ball is solidified as a playmaker and DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso will be there for the next few years as well.

White must find ways to contribute off the bench in a main backup role. He’s only scored 14 or more points on three occasions in 11 appearances this year. With Ball sidelined, the Whites need to show some consistency over the next two weeks to prove he fits into the lineup.

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