Playoff Spotlight: Derrick White
Fox Sports Asia
The San Antonio Spurs perform in the playoffs. David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard all led teams to championships in the past 25 years under the master tutelage of Gregg Popovich. Even with the Spurs coming into the 2019 playoffs as a seven seed, very few people were picking the two seed Denver Nuggets to blow the Spurs out of the water—let alone beat them in a seven game series.
It looks like people were justified in their confidence with the Spurs, as the series is extremely competitive at 2-2 going into game five. The most surprising element of the series has been the emergence of a certain under the radar player.
After only averaging 9.9 points, 3.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds a game in 25.8 minutes of play during the regular season, White has exploded in the playoffs. Averaging 19.3 points, 3.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds a game in an expanded role of 30.3 minutes a game.
He’s shooting a scorching 64% from the field, and he went absolutely off in the first game of the first round series to set the tone for San Antonio. Dropping 36 points against the backdrop of a hostile Denver crowd.
The 6’4 guard out of Colorado was selected with the 29th pick in the first round by San Antonio in 2017. White only appeared in 17 games for the Spurs in the 2017-18 season, playing a measly 8.2 minutes a game. However, he was thrust into a bigger role this year after projected starting point guard Dejounte Murray went down with a season ending injury before the start of the campaign.
White appeared in 67 games during the regular season; starting in 55 of the contests and combining his stellar defense with a consistent 47.9% shooting output from the field.
Nobody predicted such a strong showing from White in the playoffs, but the former D-II player for Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions, before transferring to the D-I Colorado Buffalo for his senior year—knows what it means to grind and defy expectations.
White had a total of 0 scholarships coming out of high school, and now he’s out here dunking on the likes of Paul Milsap in the playoffs.
White looks like he’s going to be a huge part of the Spurs quest to a championship this season, and if the Spurs are able to get past Denver in the first round, which is a big “if”, the idea of him going up against the likes of either Damian Lillard or Russell Westbrook is a fun one.
Other Guys don’t usually see their role expand in the playoffs, but White is taking advantage of his opportunity in the 2019 postseason.