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Derrick White
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Can Derrick White Become The Celtics Point Guard Of The Future?

Derrick White
Can Derrick White become the Celtics point guard of the future? On paper, White appears to be a great fit with the current group in Boston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Can Derrick White Become The Celtics Point Guard Of The Future?

I’m not sure anyone saw the Derrick White trade happening from a Celtics perspective. Just a couple of weeks ago, Boston appeared like they were ready to become sellers. They quickly pivoted after a lengthy win streak and eventually acquired White in a deal with the Spurs.

Now that the dust has settled, it begs a serious question. Is White the point guard of the future? He sure as hell better be because Brad Stevens paid a premium to go get White from San Antonio. Are we sure the Celtics are even better today post 2022 NBA Trade Deadline?

The rationale behind the trade for Boston makes sense. They needed a playmaker in the worst way. Too many times it was this your turn, my turn BS going on with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Nobody wants to admit this but they desperately miss Gordon Hayward.

White, 27, is older than you may otherwise think. He’s in the midst of the first year of his post rookie contract extension. White’s deal extends through the 2024-2025 season after inking a $70 million extension with the Spurs. The best part of this trade is the fact that Boston has White under a good team-friendly contract for a long time.

White is a good player that should fit this roster very well. Defensively, he’s very underrated. The former University of Colorado product stands at 6-foot-4 and can guard multiple positions. In games against the Celtics in the past, White was tasked with picking up Tatum. He’s a more than respected defender.

White also adds much needed shooting and playmaking. White is having a down shooting season but he’s a career 34% guy. He should also get more wide open looks now that he’s not the focal point of the offense like in San Antonio. White is also averaging 5.6 assists per game. Marcus Smart is the only player on the roster who is remotely close sitting at 5.4 assists per game.

The truth of the matter is, Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson were bad fits on this roster. The Celtics need to find more spacing and playmaking ability from the supporting cast. The perfect example is Payton Pritchard who seems to mesh very well with this group.

The Celtics appear to have their core. Tatum and Brown are the stars. We know the importance that Smart brings to the franchise. The underrated story of the season goes to the Timelord who has taken a significant jump this season. The addition of White (if it works) puts the Celtics within striking distance in the East. They probably just need one more horse to get them there (can someone get Beal on the phone?).

This deal doesn’t come without risk. It feels like Stevens was just too nice for no reason trying to be the anti Danny Ainge. Instead of pushing for extra pieces in a trade, Stevens had no quarrels with giving up a 2028 pick swap. WHY? It had the smell of inexperienced GM at its finest.

At the end of the day, Stevens felt like he couldn’t pass on the opportunity to add White to the fold. It doesn’t hurt that Ime Udoka knows him well and likely pushed for this deal to happen. On paper, White does fit the roster so it’s hard to fault his decision to make the deal.

“We’ve thought for years that Derrick was a really good fit with our best players,” Stevens said during a video conference call Friday morning. “He is an excellent defender. He just makes the right play on offense over and over and over. He’s a guy that only cares about winning, that will do all of the little things, as you can see in some of his stats, defensively, with regard to willingness to put his body on the line, activity, shot challenges, all of those things. And on offense, just by making simple plays and doesn’t need to do anything to be on the highlights to really, really impact winning.

“We felt really fortunate to be able to get a guy like that on a long contract that we think is, again, you know, a perfect fit for our best players.”

Time will tell if Stevens is proven right. This deal isn’t a deal for just this year. We get to find out if White is the Celtics point guard of the future. Let’s hope that he is as we shift focus this offseason to adding one more horse to go to war with this group.

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