Though many see Jrue Holiday as the spiritual successor to Marcus Smart on the Boston Celtics roster, CelticsBlog’s Jack Simone believes the franchise already had their Smart replacement: Derrick White.
“The Jrue Holiday trade consumed all of the attention surrounding the Boston Celtics at the end of the summer,” Simone wrote. “Boston managed to replace the defensive presence of Marcus Smart while also adding a guy who shoots near-40% from beyond the arc. But they already had that on the roster.
“Amidst all the chaos of the Celtics’ trade-filled summer, Derrick White was somehow lost in the shuffle. Debates regarding Holiday’s starting spot and Kristaps Porzingis’ potential impact have overshadowed the fact that Boston has another All-Defensive, three-point sniper on the roster.”
Derrick White could earn Boston Celtics starting point guard spot regardless of whether Jrue Holiday is also in starting five
Over the summer, White was essentially knighted as the new floor general for Joe Mazzulla’s offense, with an even crazier idea floated of giving Jayson Tatum minutes at the 1 as well. Both of these developments clearly indicated that Malcolm Brogdon was on the way out, but landing Holiday doesn’t stop either experiment from happening. However, Payton Pritchard’s preseason emergence likely will curtail Tatum’s point-forward minutes.
Holiday, with a stout physical All-Defensive presence, can guard any position and could be best served guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player most nights to allow White, Tatum, and Jaylen Brown to preserve their energy on the offensive end. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to thrive, doing his best work while allowing Giannis Antetokounmpo to do most of the initiating.
That’s convenient for Mazzulla, who doesn’t need to do away with his plans for “Point White” or even a double-big lineup with Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. One must imagine Mazzulla and Brad Stevens were communicating as the latter looked for a suitable return piece for Brogdon, and as it turns out, Robert Williams III.