San Antonio Spurs point guard Derrick White has suffered another injury during his breakout season, and it comes at the worst possible time.
The San Antonio Spurs had the deepest group of point guards in the league back in September with a healthy Dejounte Murray, Derrick White entering his second season, the always reliable Patty Mills, and a sharpshooter in Bryn Forbes.
Even after Murray tore his ACL in the preseason, the Spurs’ point guards have performed well with White and Forbes enjoying breakout seasons and Mills providing great energy and shooting off the bench as he always does.
Now San Antonio finds themselves extremely thin at point guard after Derrick White was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis for the second time this season, once on each foot.
Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News that White’s MRI “wasn’t great,” and Jeff McDonald speculated that the Spurs could hold him out until after the All-Star break.
This injury comes as White was playing the best basketball of his career, and he will likely be out for the entirety of the annual rodeo road trip.
San Antonio did not fare well without him in the first game of the trip in Sacramento.
Really missing Derrick White on the defensive end of the floor in the first quarter #GoSpursGo
— Air Alamo (@AirAlamo) February 5, 2019
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While the Spurs have enough playmakers to run a solid offense with Derrick White on the sidelines, the defense really struggled without the second year point guard.
San Antonio allowed the Kings to shoot 56% from the floor in their first game without White with a defensive rating of 129.3 on the night.
White ranked sixth among the NBA’s point guards in defensive real plus-minus this season, and he was the main reason for the Spurs’ defensive turnaround after they couldn’t stop anyone for the first month of the season while he was dealing with his first instance of plantar faciitis.
He will now be replaced by Patty Mills, who ranks 87th out of 98 point guards in defensive real plus-minus, and Bryn Forbes, who ranks 84th among 109 shooting guards.
The rodeo road trip has the Spurs travelling to Golden State, Portland, Utah, and Toronto over the next couple of weeks, and all of those teams are capable of lighting up a Derrick White-less defense.
San Antonio is currently sixth in the Western Conference, but they are only three games above the ninth-place Kings who could make some moves to improve their team at the trade deadline.
If the Spurs struggle like they did in Sacramento for the rest of this road trip, they could find themselves on the outside looking in to the playoff picture by the end of February.
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Hopefully White can in fact return after the All-Star break in a couple of weeks.
If he can’t, San Antonio will be in hot water very soon.