San Antonio Spurs fans crown Derrick White early on
It was as if the new star had arrived, and for a club who was abandoned by a potential Hall of Famer only a season earlier, it was poetic. Walking out of the AT&T Center that night, I vividly remember hearing other fans saying things like, “A star is born”, “Derrick is the new Kawhi”, “My God, he is a young Manu Ginobli”, and “Denver is done! Spurs in 5!”
The Spurs lost that series in 7, missed the playoffs the year after, and the city's new darling injured his ankle the year after that, which didn’t help the Spurs' playoff push (or lack thereof) that we saw last month.
Perhaps we jumped the gun in naming Derrick White the Spurs' new main man. And by we, I mean me. I completely did this. I was on the Derrick hype train after his playoff torching of the Nuggets more than anyone. And being the honest person I am, I will admit that I suppose maybe I did forget about him for a little bit last season.
Well, I remember him now. All it took was Ben Simmons all dolled up in a fiesta jersey for me to snap out of it and realize that the number one option San Antonio is seeking through free agency is already signed, is getting healthier by the day and thrives when he is under the radar. His name is Derrick, he wears number 4, and he is going to lead the Spurs back to the playoffs.
Before that Game 3 breakout jam session, White really wasn’t considered one of the elite players on the Spurs roster. He did gain some attention from some of the NBA's top media outlets on how underrated he is in this league, but the spotlight wasn’t on full blast yet.
It got turned on for a few days in April of 2019, but that light went out as quickly as it was lit. But as with all things in life, this happened for a reason. Being forced to sit on the bench and watch his team miss the playoffs happened just as it should. That reason? White thrives when he is not noticed, or dare we say…..forgotten.