San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White needs to be on an All-Seeding Games team
The NBA recently announced that a cohort of on-site sportswriters and broadcasters will vote on an NBA All-Seeding Games Team and an NBA Player of the Seeding Games based on the performances from the eight regular-season games in Orlando. The panel can vote for 10 players of any position and from either conference and the top vote-getters will be named either to the First Team and Second Team. There’s one San Antonio Spurs player who should be a lock for a spot.
The NBA bubble has been chock-full of surprises, drama, and intrigue and that trend could be reflected in the team votes, which will be announced on August 15 before Game 1 of Western Conference play-in tournament.
So far, we’ve seen the surprising emergence of players such as T.J. Warren, who has averaged 31.0 PPG through his first six games, and Michael Porter Jr., who is reminding people why he was heralded as a generational prospect coming out of high school. Another player who has elevated his play significantly during these seeding games and should be a selection to one of the teams is San Antonio’s very own Derrick White.
Derrick White deserves his spot on an All-Seeding Games team
Entering the NBA restart, there was widespread uncertainty about what this Spurs squad could accomplish in Orlando, especially with LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles being lost for the remainder of the season due to injury.
Coach Popovich consistently preached that these seeding games would be an opportunity for this team to compete and develop at the same time. And, in typical Spurs fashion, San Antonio has gone 5-2 through their first seven seeding games and are still in a position to potentially clinch a record-breaking 23rd consecutive playoff berth.
Much of San Antonio’s success in Orlando has been due in large part to White stepping up and playing the Robin to DeMar DeRozan’s Batman. Derrick has displayed increased aggressiveness at both ends of the floor and that contagious energy he’s playing with has disseminated throughout the entire roster.
Prior to the league hiatus, the third-year guard from Colorado was averaging 10.4 points and 3.4 assists per game on 35.6 percent from three-point range. Through seven games in Orlando, White has nearly doubled his scoring output (18.9 points per game) and is dishing out 5 assists per contest while shooting an impressive 39.3 percent from downtown.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 4, 2020
While the jump Derrick has made in Orlando is a welcome sight for Spurs fans, it’s not the first time we’ve seen him make such a leap.
Last season, White balled out during his first meaningful playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, bumping up his scoring from 9.9 to 15.1 PPG during that 7-game slugfest. With a 36-point outburst and a thunderous poster that I’m sure Paul Millsap wishes people would forget about, the Spurs community got a glimpse of what White’s potential could be with a longer leash.
While Derrick struggled a bit this season with the reintegration of Dejounte Murray into the offense, the absences of Aldridge and Bryn Forbes have opened up more minutes and opportunities for White to showcase his skillset.
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Offensively, White just looks more confident and comfortable on the court. Perhaps it’s a function of playing in the bubble without fans, but D-White is playing his best and most consistent basketball of his career. Derrick’s jumper looks extremely smooth and he’s connected on the 5th-most threes (22) in the bubble.
White is also bringing the grit and hustle to the defensive side of the floor. He’s usually tasked with guarding one of the opponent’s top players and he hasn’t backed down from a challenge yet. In addition, White has recorded 59 blocks this season, which ranks first in the league among guards.
But it’s not just the blocks and steals. Derrick is willing to do all of the little things to make an impact on defense. Prime example: White leads the bubble in charges drawn with 11. Taking charges isn’t as sexy as recording a triple-double or dropping a 50-piece, but it’s gritty work that will help change the outcome of the game.
Although White may not yet be a household name outside of the Spurs fanbase, hopefully, these seeding games have given others a chance to see how much of a dynamic player he can be.
His game doesn’t get as much attention as Devin Booker or Luka Doncic but Derrick White’s improvements in the bubble and what he’s done to help the San Antonio Spurs crawl back into the thick of the playoff hunt should be enough to get him a spot on the All-Seeding Games Team.