Al Horford Sounds Off on Derrick White As Celtics Near Season’s End

Derrick White, Boston Celtics

Getty Derrick White of the Boston Celtics dribbles during the first half against the New York Knicks.

As a collective, the Boston Celtics have proven to be one of the best teams in the entire league in 2022-23.

Though the likes of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown tend to get the bulk of attention and credit for the team’s accomplishments, Joe Mazzulla has a bevy of top-notch contributors at his disposal who, throughout the season, have managed to shine bright when it has mattered most.

Recently, veteran big Al Horford shed light on one of the club’s most vital talents in Derrick White. When asked by Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston if the guard should be considered for an NBA All-Defense team selection, the veteran heaped praise upon him, and quickly retorted with a resounding “yes.”

“There’s no question, absolutely,” Horford said. “I personally think he’s probably First Team All-Defense already… I mean, you look around and it’s one of those things that we can’t get caught up in names and reputations over the years. Focus on this year, focus on what he’s done on the success of our team. It’s a big part of that. There’s no argument.”

Horford would continue to hype up his Celtics teammate, saying that what he does on the floor is very unique and that “it’s very impressive, his instincts, how hard he plays.” The power forward finished off by reiterating “he is First-Team All-NBA.”

Numbers Back Up Derrick White’s Defensive Impact on Celtics

The Boston Celtics hold ownership of the league’s fourth-best defensive rating and, though it’s been an overall team effort, it’s hard not to see Derrick White’s name written all over their success on the less glamorous side of the ball.

On a team filled with defensive juggernauts, including the reigning Defensive Player of the Year himself in Marcus Smart, Derrick White finds himself ranked third in defensive box plus-minus, fourth in steals per game, and third in blocks per game of those who have totaled 700 or more minutes on the year.

Despite measuring in at just 6-foot-4, the point guard surprisingly also ranks 24th in the NBA in total blocks and is number one in such a category of those who are 6-foot-7 and under, as pointed out by NBC Sports’ Chris Forsberg.

Nearing the end of his first full season with the Celtics, White finds himself posting solid per-game averages of 12.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on 46.1% shooting from the field and 38.4% shooting from deep.

Celtics Big Robert Williams Issues Statement on Joel Embiid

Heading into Tuesday’s bout against the Philadelphia 76ers, Celtics big man Robert Williams III was asked what he believes is the key to trying to slow down superstar center Joel Embiid.

Though he suggested that it’s not an easy feat to accomplish, the main objective for the team should be to attack him collaboratively on the defensive side of the ball.

“You just got to play as good of defense as you can, you know, playing against a superstar like that…More of a team effort than putting it on someone individually. We just need everybody,” Williams said when talking strategy to defending Joel Embiid.

Though generally the club’s frontcourt gameplan revolves around Robert Williams, the Celtics broke the news Monday evening that the 25-year-old has been ruled out for the upcoming affair due to “left knee injury management.”

Nonetheless, with or without Timelord in the mix, the idea is still the same — when it comes to attempting to contain the MVP frontrunner in Embiid, it will need to take a collaborative effort from the team as a whole.