A trade a little over a year ago for the Boston Celtics continues to pay dividends for the franchise.
When Derrick White arrived from the San Antonio Spurs for Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford, the Celtics knew they were getting a solid player. White was often times spectacular in Boston’s run to the 2022 NBA Finals, providing key minutes off the bench on both offense and defense.
White has been steady and solid again in 2022-23 for the Celtics, and has enjoyed a fabulous stretch so far in February.
Scorching February for Boston Celtics
The Celtics are winners in five of their last six games. This is an impressive feat considering how they have been without three starters off and on during the stretch.
One of missing players is reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart. His presence is certainly missed as he deals with an ankle injury but White has filled in nicely, performing at an elite level.
In five games in February, plus the final game in January, White has been playing his best basketball of the season. The most recent was a bona fide gem in a victory against the Charlotte Hornets, on the one-year anniversary of being traded to Boston.
White delivered a double-double, scoring a career-high 33 points and handing out 10 assists. He was on a heater in the first-half, knocking down his first six three-point shot attempts.
White finished 8-14 from deep and added three blocks on the defensive end in what was another special game.
In the last six games, White averaged 20.3 points per game. He connected on 56.3 percent of his field goal attempts, including a nearly 50 percent clip (19-39) from deep.
Better yet, White has 28 assists to only five turnovers, a ratio (3.6:1) that’s been great but has been even better as of late. And he has collected 36 rebounds in this span, also above his season average.
Boston Celtics: White’s consistency
White is currently the only player on the Boston Celtics (40-16) to play in every game. And his consistency and production has been needed in recent games.
With Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Smart all missing time, a second scorer to complement Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup has been needed. White has helped with that and a deep roster was on display in Boston’s win last week against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Tatum acted as a playmaker in that victory, scoring only 12 points. But he followed that with a 41-point performance against the Hornets, in what was a nice 1-2 combo with White to lead the Boston to victory.
White has been on a scorcher but that wasn’t quite the story at the close of 2022. A cold December saw White struggle from the field (37.4 percent) in averaging 8.2 points per game. But he was still contributing in other ways and has put those struggles behind him.
For the season, White is shooting 45.9 percent from the field and averaging 11.3 ppg. He has 53 blocks and, if his play continues to be stellar on defense, has a solid case to be named to one of the NBA All-Defensive teams.
Smart missing significant time could have spun the Celtics into a funk. And it appeared that way at first, with Boston losing their first three games after Smart’s injury. But they’ve settled in and readjusted, with White helping lead that charge. And if he continues on this pace, the Celtics will be in good hands heading into the All-Star break later this week.