CelticsBlog Participant of the Week #8: Derrick White

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That’s proper, we’ve arrived right here as soon as once more — it’s time for CelticsWeblog’s Participant of the Week. It’s time to have a look again on what was, someway, the second-to-last common season week for the Boston Celtics this season. And, cease me should you’ve heard this one earlier than: it was an ideal 3-0 stretch for the Celtics, who put the cherry on prime of their unbelievable second-half surge by claiming (albeit, briefly) the highest seed within the Jap Convention.

The video games in query listed below are as follows. On Monday, they fended off a chippy effort by the rebuilding Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder to shut out their Western Convention street journey. After returning residence to Boston, they summarily beat the brakes off of two Western Convention playoff groups: Utah and Minnesota. That made for six straight wins for Boston, all of which featured leads of a minimum of 20 factors. Let’s dig in.

As at all times, our disclaimer: “Participant of the Week” doesn’t essentially translate to “Finest Participant of the Week.” The concept of this award is to focus on difference-makers from the previous week’s video games, and to be trustworthy, a strict deal with “greatest” would result in this award pinballing backwards and forwards between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They’re the group’s star gamers, and crucial and impactful gamers on the courtroom even on their worst capturing nights.

Repeatedly writing about these two, whereas deserved, can be just a bit bit much less enjoyable. For that purpose, we’re going to broaden our requirements a bit bit to introduce a bit extra range within the outcomes. The 2 are eligible for the award, after all, however the bar for them is just a bit bit larger.

CelticsBlog Participant of the Week #8: Derrick White

3 GP, 32 MPG, 14 PPG, 45% FG, 37% 3PT, 4 RPG, 5 APG

Selecting a winner this week was a little bit of a conundrum. Each Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been terrific, after all, however I felt they type of cut up the proverbial vote by being equally dominant all through the week. Past that, having highlighted them for 3 consecutive weeks only recently, retaining the highlight on non-star contributors appeared like the best way to go once more this time round.

However who to decide on? Past the Jays, the Celtics noticed various standout performances from complementary gamers throughout these three video games. Grant Williams had a career-best 20-point, 10-rebound efficiency in opposition to the Thunder. Payton Pritchard continued his scorching streak, capturing 55% from three on almost seven makes an attempt per sport. Marcus Sensible dished out 13 assists (9 within the first quarter) within the group’s dismantling of the Jazz.

However then I observed Derrick White. Hidden amongst all of the group’s heroes, White quietly put collectively what may need been his greatest week as a Boston Celtic since being acquired on the commerce deadline. White might not be the flashiest or most enjoyable participant on the group, however he’s proven up and contributed in almost each part of the sport because the commerce. It appears like time to try the Celtics’ comparatively unheralded contributor.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Denver Nuggets

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@ Thunder: 18 PTS, 5-of-10 FG, 5 REB, 5 AST

vs Jazz: 10 PTS, 4-of-10 FG, 2-of-3 3PT, 3 REB, 5 AST

vs Timberwolves: 15 PTS, 4-of-6 FG, 2-of-4 3PT, 6 AST

White’s defensive prowess has been apparent since he stepped foot in Boston. He’s basically Weight loss plan Marcus Sensible, and the duo have been terrorizing opposing backcourts since they have been introduced collectively. This week, although, we’re extra serious about White’s offense, and the way he’s tailored to the schemes of his former-turned-new-again coach Ime Udoka.

We’ll begin with the plain: the threes have been, mercifully, discovering the underside of the online. Traditionally, White has hardly been a world-beater from a capturing perspective. His profession excessive is a modest 36% again in 2019, on simply 3.2 makes an attempt for these three-point-averse Spurs. Brad Stevens and the Celtics knew they’d be dropping some capturing in sending out Josh Richardson as a part of the deal, but when White might preserve capturing within the low-30% vary (or doubtlessly enhance whereas working in higher spacing alongside the Jays), that will be sufficient to successfully preserve issues buzzing.

Till now, that hasn’t actually occurred. He’s meshed with just about every part else the Celtics have tried to do on each ends of the ground, however the threes have been fully absent. He entered the week capturing a fully dismal 21% from behind the arc since becoming a member of the Celtics — fully off the mark, and seemingly a bit shaken when it comes to confidence consequently.

At instances, he simply hasn’t been significantly shut, like in his 0-for-8 efficiency in opposition to Golden State (0-for-5 from three).

Although the pattern is just too small to definitively say he’s out of the woods, this week was a step in the proper path. Hitting 37% from three on 4 makes an attempt per sport isn’t precisely lighting the nets on hearth, but it surely’s a charge that can preserve defenses trustworthy and retains him out of “lively legal responsibility” territory when he’s behind the arc — and it’s not inherently all that totally different from the 40% on three makes an attempt that Richardson averaged throughout his half-season in Boston.

The Celtics don’t want a lot from White as a shooter. He simply has to knock them down when he’s open. This week, he did that.

One other facet of White’s sport that has stood out has been his capacity to drive to the basket. He’s assumed the rim stress accountability beforehand held by the departed Dennis Schröder, and he’s comporting himself properly. On the season, he’s capturing 62% on the rim, roughly in keeping with Schröder’s 64% mark on comparable quantity.

However the place Schröder attacked the rim with sheer pace, White’s sport is slower and extra deliberate. His tempo jogs my memory of one other former Spur within the league proper now, Kyle “Sluggish-Mo” Anderson. He simply runs on a barely totally different tempo than most different gamers, cruising at a snug third gear as a substitute of slamming into fifth.

He finds some enjoyable angles to complete within the middleman distances, too. Between three and ten ft from the basket, he’s a few 51% shooter on the season, due to his good contact and inventive repertoire of floaters.

Lastly, White’s passing has continued to be his greatest offensive attribute. He has actually thrived in Boston’s egalitarian ball motion system. He’s a terrific play connector in a means neither Schröder nor Richardson may very well be — prepared and capable of make easy, unselfish passes that preserve the ball shifting. If these Celtics move the ball a number of instances in a possession, they seemingly nearly at all times discover a good look, and White has been no small a part of that.

I nonetheless don’t know how he transformed this lob to Robert Williams (get properly quickly).

What I like about White’s passing is how nearly quaint it’s. He doesn’t have the penchant for show-stopping passes that we’ve seen through the years in Boston guards like Sensible or Rajon Rondo. It’s simply pure competency — a cyborg-like deal with delivering the ball as rapidly and effectively as doable, with minimal drama.

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That is extra a credit score to the arduous work of Payton Pritchard than White himself, as the one factor White actually needed to do was end a wide-open quick break. However it’s just too cool a play to exclude. Pritchard completely smothers Utah’s Jordan Clarkson, forcing a panic move immediately into the outstretched arm of Daniel Theis. Pritchard corrals the unfastened ball and launches it forward to White, who slams residence the quick break and places the exclamation level on an enormous win in opposition to the Jazz.

It’s only a very cool play that encapsulates how dominant this stretch of Celtics’ basketball has been.

That’s all she wrote for this week’s version of Participant of the Week. The approaching week appears prone to be an fascinating one, a four-game slate consisting of final night time’s extraordinarily short-handed loss to the Toronto Raptors, a large convention battle with the Miami Warmth on Wednesday, a Friday night time matchup with the Indiana Pacers to avenge a late-February blowout loss and a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Washington Wizards.

Ideas on this week’s decide, or predictions for the subsequent one? Tell us down beneath within the feedback.

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