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Bulls' Coby White is a finalist for NBA Most Improved Player award

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Bulls had a disappointing finish as they were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the East play-in tournament.

But that did not put a damper on guard Coby White's season. The Bulls announced Sunday night that White is a finalist for the NBA's Most Improved Player award.

White saw a major increase in workload this season in Zach LaVine's absence, and he made the most of it. White started 78 games and went down as the team's third-leading scorer this season.

White averaged just over 19 points per game, up from 9.7 points last year. He also went from 23.4 minutes to 36.6 minutes per game, while increasing his numbers for rebounds and assists.

White scored a career-high 42 points this past Thursday as the Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks in a play-in matchup.

He said he is not done getting better.

"I feel like it's just part of my growth overall – just getting better as the season went on. I think one think one thing I need to work on – probably this offseason focus on – is probably just my conditioning," White said. "I don't think anything I could have done this past offseason would have prepared me for the amount of minutes and load that I had this year, so for me now, moving forward, I just need to work on my conditioning to make sure I'm prepared for anything coming into the season."

"He's made huge strides. For me, he's the most improved player this year, and obviously, he's part of this group that, you know, kept us in it – in the playoff hunt. How he's played this year – it's been unbelievable," said Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas. "So I think he's still away from being, you know, far away from being the final product. He's going to approach his offseason and he's going to come back even better."

White, an alum of North Carolina just like Michael Jordan many years before him, was drafted by the Bulls as the seventh overall pick in 2019.

Meanwhile, Bulls forward DeMar Rozan is a finalist for NBA Clutch Player of the Year. This award is given to the player who delivers the most when a game is on the line.

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