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San Antonio Spurs: White’s scoring can save Spurs down stretch run

Apr 21, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White (4) controls the ball against Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) in the second quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 21, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White (4) controls the ball against Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) in the second quarter at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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Things looked bleak for the San Antonio Spurs a few weeks ago but as they have so many times before, this team buckled down and fought through it. They’ve won four of their last five including some very impressive road wins against the Suns and Pelicans, and Derrick White has been a huge part of that.

When you think about White’s game, his stalwart defense and loveable willingness to put his body in harm’s way to draw charges might come to mind first, and for good reason. He’s one of the most prolific shot-blocking guards in the league and also ranks 7th in the league in total charges drawn.

But lately, it’s been White’s scoring ability that has caught our attention. After an uneven start to the season, he’s found his groove and has been excellent as of late. That’s something that the Spurs are going to need him to continue to do down the stretch run of the season.

San Antonio Spurs will need to depend on Derrick White’s scoring in May

Looking ahead to the remainder of the NBA schedule, the Spurs have a brutal stretch of games coming their way. Highlighted by two, two games series with the Jazz and Suns, the Spurs face the toughest schedule in the league according to Tankathon. Their only easy games, if you can even call them that, come against the Wizards and Kings. San Antonio is going to need to be on their A-game, and Derrick White’s scoring is going to be a huge part of that.

Over the last ten games, White has averaged 18.5 points per game on an incredibly impressive 42 percent shooting from behind the arc and 45 percent shooting from the floor. Along that stretch, he’s had four stellar outings of 25+ points and two occasions where he’s hit six three-pointers.

The hot streak stands out in sharp contrast to how White was playing earlier in the season. Injuries and time spent in the leagues’ coronavirus protocols stopped White from picking up where he left off in the Orlando bubble but right when the Spurs need him most, he’s heating up.

Slow start aside, White is still having a career year for San Antonio. He’s set a new high mark, averaging 15.5 points per game for the season, and his most important work is still yet to come.

White’s scoring will be crucial for San Antonio over the next few weeks but it can also give us a glimpse of what could be in store for the Spurs next season. The uncertainty of where DeMar DeRozan is going to play next season still hangs over the franchise and if DeRozan does decide to play elsewhere next season, White looks well prepared to take on a larger scoring role than ever before.

Regardless of who DeMar is playing for next season, the improvements that both White and his backcourt partner Dejounte Murray have made on the scoring front are remarkably impressive. White’s coming into his own as a three-level scorer and Murray has quietly made his three-point shot into a weapon this season.

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There will be time to sit and enjoy the growth of the San Antonio Spurs guards when the season is over but now it’s time to strap in for what should be a thrilling sprint to the finish line over the next few weeks. They’ve got a tough task ahead of them, but with White scoring at such a high level the play-in tournament is still very much in play for San Antonio.

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