Since joining the Boston Celtics at the February 2022 trade deadline, Derrick White has become an integral member of the team’s rotation Whitand is now seen to be one of their best players.
During a recent interview with NBC Sports Boston, legendary San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke glowingly of his former player, crediting him for his continued growth in the league.
“Derek’s a really special case of someone, over time, figuring out that he belongs,” Popovich said. “He started out in a small college situation, obviously, and matriculated to a division one school, and then we got him and in development, he was just outstanding. He spent a lot of time before and after practices and, you know, summer leagues and learned how to play.
He had the size at that position to do it. And the immediate thing that you could see was that he had an instinctive nose for the game. He understood how to play. Most NBA players don’t know how to play. He did. And he added skill development on top of that, you know, he’s been working a lot on his shot, ball handling, pick and roll, those sorts of things. And he just got better and better because he put so much time in, and then it was just a matter of convincing him that he did belong, so that his confidence would grow. And you’ve seen that continue, you know, in his time here in Boston, so, a special young man”
White has been somewhat of an iron man for the Celtics this season, participating in every game so far and producing averages of 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4 assists while converting 46.1% of his attempts from the field and 38.2% of his perimeter shots.
Joe Mazzulla Joins in On Praising Derrick White
When speaking to the media during his pre-game press conference, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla was also complimentary of White’s improvements this season and what he brings to Boston’s guard rotation.
“Yeah, well, I think he’s a great teammate,” Mazzulla said. “I think he just brings a level of humility and competitiveness. And I think he’s gotten more and more comfortable with just playing his game. And so being aggressive off of pick-and-rolls, taking open shots, driving, and I just love what he brings to us defensively as well.”
White will face off against Popovich and his former team on March 26 when the Celtics face the Spurs.
Tyrese Haliburton Sounds Off on Derrick White
Shortly after the Celtics overcame the Indiana Pacers on March 24, impressive young guard Tyrese Haliburton addressed the media for his post-game press conference, where he praised White’s growth since joining the Celtics.
“He’s grown a lot here,” Haliburton said. “He’s gotten a lot better. Early in my career playing (against) him in San Antonio, like offense is more open for more space to attack. He’s doing a good job within the free-throw line. Just a complimentary piece for those guys, for sure.”