San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White could sneak onto final Team USA Roster
By Dylan Carter
With only 15 players remaining on the Team USA active roster, San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White could represent the team in China.
In a summer that’s seen the vast majority of the NBA’s elite decline to play for Gregg Popovich’s first installment of Team USA, newfound opportunity has arisen for an unlikely candidate – San Antonio Spurs combo guard Derrick White, whose performance throughout training camp has stood out mightily. The 6-foot-4 playmaker showed off boundless development in his sophomore season in the Alamo City, highlighted by some marquee moments in the Spurs’ seven-game series against Denver in the playoffs.
This served as a launching point for White, who is utilizing his offseason to maximize his growth and expand his range while continuing to blossom as a defensive menace and dime dropper. After being remarked as one of the best players on the floor for any team throughout Team USA scrimmages, White – along with last year’s No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley – was promoted to the main squad just a few days ago.
Media couldn’t watch the entire scrimmage between USA’s World Cup team (varsity) and select team (jv). But two people who were in the gym just told me the select team dominated in stretches, and both said one of the biggest reasons why was Derrick White.
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) August 6, 2019
Since then, Bagley has opted to leave Team USA to prepare for the season while new champion Kyle Lowry exited the team due to rehabilitation on his thumb. With only three players left to get cut, Derrick could find himself heading to China to represent the United States of America.
Six guards remain on the active roster – two of which seem expendable when comparing them against White’s all-around impact. Unless they opt to drop out of Team USA, the consensus is that Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and De’Aaron Fox are all locks for the final roster.
Heading into his third year, Fox is poised to make a leap in his progression and has shown flashes of excellence throughout camp. Walker and Mitchell, on the other hand, have little to prove because of their stature amongst the top guards in the league.
Could @spurs Derrick White be a breakout player next season?! @usabasketball pic.twitter.com/NnipRxpjGb
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 8, 2019
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This leaves Joe Harris, Marcus Smart and White remaining in the guard rotation. Harris is an exceptional sharpshooter but lacks the pizazz and defensive upside of the other two listed players. Seeing him cut would not be totally surprising. Smart, on the other hand, offers a lot of the same qualities as White with marksmanship, intensity and hustle shining through as his most remarkable traits.
Six forwards remain as well, meaning Pop may opt to trot out a guard-heavy rotation when the time comes. Other notable candidates to be cut in favor of White are Mason Plumlee, P.J. Tucker and Jaylen Brown.
In terms of notoriety, White is far down the list of top candidates to make the final roster, but those who’ve paid close attention to his play throughout camp can attest to his competitive nature and ambitious play whilst representing his country.
Whether he makes the final cut or not, this experience will prove invaluable for White once he laces up for the silver and black come training camp.