San Antonio Spurs point guard Derrick White‘s breakout performance in Game Three against the Nuggets proved that he is firmly a piece of the franchise’s future.
The San Antonio Spurs knew they needed one of their role players to take some of the load off of their two stars if they were going to pull off a first round upset against Denver.
Derrick White has done much more than that over the first three games of this series.
White has been the Spurs’ most consistent player in the first round as he’s scored 16+ points in all three games and played stellar defense against Jamal Murray, the Nuggets’ leading scorer.
The second year guard put in the best performance of his career on Thursday night against Denver with a career-high 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting.
26 of those points came in the first half, which would’ve already been a career high if the game ended after the second quarter.
As usual, White filled out the rest of the stat sheet as well with 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block to go along with his extremely efficient night scoring the basketball.
The former Colorado Buffalo has absolutely dominated his matchup with Jamal Murray smothering him on defense and holding the Nuggets’ point guard to just 6 points in Game Three.
Outside of Murray’s unconscious fourth quarter in Game Two, he has been a non-factor in this series.
We all got pretty excited about White’s breakout year during the regular season, and I even compared him to Tony Parker when he was in the middle of his hot streak.
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However, even the biggest fans of Derrick White couldn’t have foreseen this type of performance coming from him this postseason.
With the glut of young guards on the Spurs’ roster, it was unclear how White would fit in San Antonio’s future plans before the season began.
But White has proven he can be the best player on the floor in a playoff game, and the Spurs will be happy to make room for him to shine as his career moves forward.
Fortunately, White and Murray can fit alongside each other in a starting backcourt.
They both have the necessary size to defend bigger shooting guards, and Murray has even proven the ability to defend small forwards if needed.
With Murray ranking as the number one point guard in defensive real plus-minus in 2017 and White finishing second in that stat this season, they could form the most terrifying duo of defensive guards in the league.
Dejounte needs to improve his playmaking and shooting skills, but White has shown the type of well-rounded offensive game that can allow him run the point for years to come.
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White may never have had the opportunity to show all he can do if Murray wouldn’t have gotten hurt, but he’s made the most of the situation all year long and that’s continued in the postseason.
After coming into his second NBA season with a ton of question marks, it looks like the Spurs have officially found their new point guard in the post-Parker era.