With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Boston Celtics already seem to have their fair share of established All-Stars in tow heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
However, considering the impressive array of high-end players around them, a few others are on the brink of achieving star status. Arguments could be made for many of Boston’s players, Derrick White seems to be getting all of the love from preseason projections.
According to the statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight, the veteran point guard is expected to boast a 6.4 WAR (wins above replacement), categorizing him as a “borderline All-Star” along with teammates Brown and Marcus Smart.
Forbes also views White as a player who can surprise because of “considerably lowered expectations.”
“White is no longer the designated new guy, and he will get the opportunity to play an entire season within head coach Ime Udoka’s system,” wrote Hunter Felt in a Forbes story published August 31. “Now that he no longer has to justify the Celtics’ trade for him, White doesn’t have to become a ‘borderline all-star’ to become the team’s secret weapon. He might simply just have to continue being himself.”
White Could Be ‘X-Factor’ for Celtics
White has found himself producing nicely for the Boston Celtics since being acquired by the franchise back at the February 10 trade deadline.
Though he may have kicked off his tenure in green and white rather slowly, posting lackluster averages of 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists on 37.3% shooting from the floor and a lowly 21.7% shooting from distance through his first 16 contests, after getting acclimated to the system the combo guard managed to flourish during the final stretch of the season and at times during their NBA Finals run.
During the final nine games of the regular season, White went on to post stellar averages of 14.0 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.7 rebounds on 45.8% shooting from the field and 46.2% shooting from deep.
Now, with a summer of chemistry building and a full training camp on the way, it’s only logical to believe that the 28-year-old will be able to up his production and efficiency in comparison to last season.
In fact, White could improve so much this campaign that NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg wrote in an August 31 article that the guard could wind up becoming “a real X-factor for the Celtics.” He wrote:
Even with the addition of Brogdon, White could be a vital piece for the Celtics. He’ll likely pair often with Brogdon in second-unit lineups. The triumvirate of Smart, Brogdon, and White can not only share ball-handling duties throughout games but is a group that gushes defensive versatility and gives coach Ime Udoka a lot of flexibility in creating lineups.
Boston’s bench sometimes struggled to take the baton from the starters last year, especially in the postseason. White absolutely needs to improve his offensive consistency, particularly after shooting a mere 30.6 percent beyond the 3-point arc and 40.9 percent from the floor during the regular season with the Celtics.
Though initially shocked to have been traded from San Antonio to the Celtics, White now has a chance to serve as a true difference-maker for a championship contender.
White Was Heavily Linked in Durant Talks
Before his “borderline All-Star” projection from FiveThirtyEight surfaced on August 30, White was found often linked as a possible trade asset in reported Kevin Durant talks throughout the summer.
Perhaps the most notable proposal that came into the limelight this offseason was the one that Brad Stevens was reported to have offered up back in July, which The Athletic’s Shams Charania claimed consisted of White, Brown and a first-round pick for the superstar wing.
Ultimately, this deal wound up being rejected by Sean Marks and company and, as a result, the Celtics come into the 2022-23 season with these two high-end talents onboard and the illustrious moniker of title-favorites.
The analysis also projects White’s five-year market value to be $110.1 million, which is $67.1 million more than the Celtics’ big-time offseason acquisition of guard Malcolm Brogdon.