Derrick White is Boston Celtics’ third best player through 4 playoff games

Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Derrick White was a key acquisition last year at the 2022 trade deadline for the Boston Celtics. He fit the organization perfectly and was able to step into a contributing role immediately.

This year he has been even better, giving the Celtics the best season of his career. This is even more so with respect to the playoffs. Thus far in the postseason’s first round, White has managed to average 19.8 points, 3.8 assists, and four rebounds in four games, easily outshining his 2022 playoff numbers (8.5/2.7/3.0).

White has arguably been the Celtics’ best guard all season, and he’s now making his case even more so. Defensively, he plays at the top level and will unquestionably make an All-Defensive team. But where he has started to shine in this series is with his scoring, especially his efficiency.

At first glance his shooting is outstanding. From beyond the 3-point line, he is averaging 52% for the playoffs and 58 percent on field goals in general. Looking at his shot selection it makes total sense. Everything is either a 3-point shot or in the paint, and those in the paint are in the restricted area most of the time. He’s taking highly efficient shots and he’s making them.

This of course gives the Boston Celtics another option when Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are having a tough stretch. Which was a needed piece in the 2022 finals when the stars were flat-out exhausted. This showed in the first half of game four. White was 6/8 from the field, half of those being 3-pointers, while Tatum and Brown were a combined 8/22.

The crunch time lineups this season have been tricky when it comes to guards. Between Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and White there are a lot of combinations to go with, and a lot of it depends on the health of the rest of the team. However, White is showing that, at least thus far in the playoffs, he’s the best option in the backcourt. He can play on or off the ball, shoot the lights out, and can defend nearly anyone on the court in a switch.

The Boston Celtics have a Big Three

Overall, White is just a smart player. He always knew how to play but now the skills that he polished all year are starting to shine. It will be fascinating to see how Coach Mazzulla utilizes him down the stretch.

He’s been the best player after the two Jays — and his presence in the starting lineup gives the Celtics a legitimate Big Three.