San Antonio Spurs: Will Derrick White make the most of an opportunity?

PHILADELPHIA,PA - JANUARY 3 : Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with Derrick White
PHILADELPHIA,PA - JANUARY 3 : Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with Derrick White /

Will Derrick White make most of the opportunity at hand with the San Antonio Spurs?

Derrick White received a similar treatment to Dejounte Murray in his rookie season, spending most of the year in the G League and receiving sporadic call-ups to the San Antonio Spurs roster. He played sparingly when given the opportunity with the main squad, but that should change in the 2018-19 season.

Without Kyle Anderson, Danny Green, Tony Parker and Brandon Paul, the White has the chance to earn a larger role in San Antonio’s backcourt. DeMar DeRozan is around to start, but backup minutes should be plentiful.

White is aware of what’s at hand this fall, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. Without some of the usual faces around, he wants to get better and take advantage of the potentially increased role this fall:

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“It’s nice to know they have faith in me, that they are confident in me,” White said Wednesday. “It’s tough to see all those guys go. They did so much for the organization. But I’ve got to make the most of my opportunities. That’s been my focus all summer long, trying to get better and better.”

The Spurs lost some of their best perimeter defenders, as well, with Green and Leonard’s departure to the Toronto Raptors. Multiple players may need to step up and fill this role, and White could become one of them if the opportunity presents itself:

“Kawhi and Danny are both all-defense players, so we are definitely going to miss them,” White said. “Everyone else is going to have to step up defensively and do a little bit more.”

The Colorado product can prove himself by stepping up for Green and Leonard, making the coaching staff’s decision easier to keep him in the rotation. He had 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in the G League.

How much time White receives to fulfill a steady role remains to be seen, given the guard depth the Spurs will walk into the season with. That includes the presences of Bryn Forbes, Manu Ginobili and Lonnie Walker IV, all with a case (or are guaranteed in Ginobili’s case) playing time.

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White will look to move the needle when training camp starts in late September and into the regular season in mid-October. He can follow up on the 2017-18 campaign, where he averaged 20.1 points, 5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the Austin Spurs.