The Celtics might not have made a James Harden-Ben Simmons-level splash on the commerce deadline, however they did make a major deal that may form the construction of the roster each this 12 months and sooner or later.
In response to a number of studies, Boston is acquiring Derrick White of the Spurs in trade for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, a 2022 first-round decide (protected 1-4) and a first-round decide swap in 2028. It’s lots to surrender, sure, however it ought to pay dividends immediately – significantly with Dennis Schroder reportedly gone as well.
White, a 6-foot-4, 27-year-old, fifth-year combo guard, is making $15.1 million this season and is below contract via 2024-25. He’s spent his total profession studying from Gregg Popovich and performed with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Good on Workforce USA in 2019. Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was an assistant in San Antonio (and with the nationwide workforce) as White carved out a task with the workforce.
He’s a defensive-minded participant who modifications speeds effectively on offense and is averaging 14.4 factors, 5.6 assists, and three.5 rebounds per recreation this season. Although taking pictures proportion (42.6) and 3-point proportion (31.4) aren’t spectacular, he’s coming into his prime and may slot in effectively total with the Celtics’ core.
Right here’s a more in-depth have a look at what the reported transfer means for the Celtics:
White ought to complement the items in place
Whether or not Good is a high-caliber place to begin guard or not (he’s), it by no means hurts to have one other ball-handler. White is shifty, bouncy and cerebral on the courtroom, and he doesn’t must take plenty of pictures to be efficient.
This season, White is averaging 11.6 pictures per recreation. In February, that quantity is at 10.8, but he’s nonetheless managed to up his manufacturing to 16.8 factors an evening within the course of.
The Celtics have loads of choices when it comes to a beginning 5. They’ll go Good-White-Brown-Tatum-Robert Williams, maintain the beginning 5 the identical with Good-Brown-Tatum-Williams-Al Horford and produce White off the bench as a sixth man, or go White-Brown-Tatum-Williams-Horford and produce Good off the bench. The almost certainly end result is to begin Good and White collectively, have them carry the ball up interchangeably and produce Horford off the bench.
Having one other playmaker on the ground to get Tatum and Brown simple appears by no means hurts. White is a greater passer and dribbler than Richardson – whose flooring spacing and flexibility will likely be missed – and is about on par as a shooter.
He’s a defensive-minded participant who bolsters Boston’s id
Nabbing a participant like Terrence Ross, Donte DiVincenzo, or Marvin Bagley III might have helped the Celtics offensively, however having White within the combine helps an ideal deal on either side of the ball.
The Celtics have the third-best defensive score within the NBA and have held 5 of six opponents below 100 throughout their successful streak. They’ve firmly established themselves as a workforce that prides itself on protection no matter whether or not or not pictures are falling.
White, who has had a optimistic plus-minus yearly, is a pest defensively on and off the ball. Even when he’s beat off the dribble – which doesn’t occur typically – he typically recovers and sneaks his hand in to pry the ball away. He’s somebody who can guard 1’s and a couple of’s effectively and holds his personal when switched onto forwards. White is averaging a steal and nearly a block per recreation whereas solely committing 2.4 fouls an evening.
Pairing Good and White ought to go a good distance when up towards groups just like the Nets (with Simmons and Kyrie Irving), the Bulls (with Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan), and the 76ers (with Harden and Tyrese Maxey).
He’s not essentially going to place them excessive
This transfer advantages the Celtics – as White is best than Richardson total and Langford appeared destined to plateau – however it would not essentially vault them into rivalry within the East.
If Harden suits in Philadelphia and Simmons meshes in Brooklyn – which, in fact, are huge ifs – the 76ers, Nets, Bucks and Warmth nonetheless clearly have an edge over the Celtics. Boston is probably going within the subsequent tier, with the Cavaliers, Bulls, Raptors and Hornets. It’s not a foul place to be contemplating the best way the season began, however followers shouldn’t count on White to magically carry a championship to Boston.
After all, if the Celtics by no means lose one other recreation, that might assist their odds immensely.