San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White can be the next Tony Parker
By Andrew Ites
Thanks to a breakout season from Derrick White, the San Antonio Spurs may have found a new point guard to build around for years to come.
The San Antonio Spurs knew Tony Parker‘s reign as their starting point guard was coming to an end a few years ago, so they became aggressive in trying to find his successor.
They spent their 2017 and 2018 late-first round picks on point guards in the hopes of finding the next Parker, who was a late-first round pick himself.
The Spurs ended up getting a promising point guard with each of those picks, but their most recent selection most closely parallels the game of the future Hall of Famer.
Derrick White‘s box score numbers from this season look a lot like Tony Parker’s first year in San Antonio.
White: 10 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 spg, 25.8 mpg, 35.3% 3PT, 2.1 3PT attempts per game
Parker: 9.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.6 rpg, 1.2 spg, 29.4 mpg, 32.3% 3PT, 2.5 3PT attempts per game
There are a couple major differences between each player’s first full season with the Spurs:
- Derrick White has a true shooting percentage of 56.8% compared to Parker’s 49.7%.
- White is 24 compared to Parker, who came into the league at age 19.
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With the age difference between the two, it’s safe to say that Derrick White probably doesn’t have the Hall of Fame upside of Tony Parker.
However, if White continues the upward trajectory he’s been on throughout his career from his humble beginnings at an NAIA culinary school, there’s no reason why he can’t make a couple of All-Star teams with his level of talent.
White has a couple of inches on Parker, which makes him a much more dominant defender, but their offensive games look eerily similar with the way they both like to slash into the lane and either kick out to open shooters or finish with a crafty layup.
The Spurs didn’t quite know what they had in White as he spent most of his rookie year tearing up the G League and winning a championship with the Austin Toros. But the injury to Dejounte Murray has opened up playing time at the point guard position this year, and White has certainly made the most of that opportunity.
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Even if White doesn’t end up being as legendary as Tony Parker, San Antonio should feel comfortable handing him the keys to this team.