Entering the fourth year of his rookie deal, San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White has earned his payday and should remain with the team moving forward.
While it’s true that the San Antonio Spurs have a plethora of guards clogging up the rotation, few are as worthy of their minutes as third-year guard Derrick White. After taking over the starting spot due to point guard Dejounte Murray‘s injury in the 2018-19 season, ‘Whiteout,’ as he’s been endearingly nicknamed by Spurs fans is one of the smartest players in San Antonio.
Combining excellent size and length at 6-foot-4 with a wide reach and great athleticism, White can play either guard position with ease and handles the basketball like a champ. He’s an expert in the pick-and-roll, finding his teammates in the paint or off of a drive at every opportunity. He’s more of a natural playmaker than Murray is and shoots the ball nicely from deep, which makes him the ideal player to pair with the newly-extended point guard.
White has come off the bench for the Spurs this year, serving as the backup shooting guard next to veteran Patty Mills. Most of the reason why White is running with the second unit is to cover up that group’s deficiencies on the defensive end while balancing the abysmal defense of starter Bryn Forbes with the keen instincts that Murray brings to the table.
The 2020-21 season is the last of White’s rookie year, meaning he’ll be eligible for an extension this offseason. While he’s probably considering the free-agent market since he’s stuck on the bench for San Antonio, he’s also a natural fit with the organization both on and off the court. White is humble and reserved but carries an innate will to be great inside of him, which is why Spurs GM Brian Wright needs to do everything in his power to bring White back.
Considering the two players are on similar trajectories and level of skill, the Spurs might want to look at offering something in the ballpark of what they gave Murray: Four years, $64 million-plus up to $6 million in incentives.
It’s a hefty paycheck to give out to a bench player on a losing team, but by all accounts, a contract extension makes perfect sense here.