When ESPN releases its annual “NBArank” of the top 100 players in basketball, the list never fails to include some snubs. This year, Derrick White of the Boston Celtics was the ultimate snub.
On a special edition of his podcast where he discussed ESPN’s Top 100 list, JJ Redick blasted the panel responsible for the rankings. On the heels of his first All-Defensive campaign, White has no business sitting outside of anybody’s top 100, let alone ESPN’s.
Redick didn’t hold back with his vociferous defense of White.
"“Of these 150 people who claim to be basketball experts, how is Derrick White not in the top 100? How is that possible? He’s a top-50 player. What playoff games were you watching last year? Oh my god…”"
Derrick White was key contributor for Boston Celtics in 2022-23
Redick’s frustrations make sense, given the elite two-way contributions White provided the Boston Celtics with last season. White played all 82 games and averaged 12.4 points while starting in 70 contests. The six-foot-four combo guard recorded 0.9 blocks per game and led the league in total blocks among all guards.
In the playoffs, White took his game to another level. In 20 postseason outings, he notched 13.4 points per game on phenomenal shooting splits. White shot 50.5% from the field, 45.5% from three, and 91.2% from the free throw line.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, D-White created one of the most exciting memories in recent Celtics history with his game-winning putback layup at the buzzer to force a Game 7.
White’s counting stats may not jump off the page, but his defensive play and relative lack of weaknesses impact winning at the highest level. During the 2022-23 regular season, he led the Celtics in on/off differential with a +9.3 mark, per Cleaning the Glass.
Boston especially excelled when White shared the floor with Jayson Tatum. The Tatum/White duo boasted an incredible 11.3 net rating, courtesy of a 120.2 offensive rating and 108.9 defensive rating.
All in all, White deserves his flowers. While ESPN failed to give him those flowers, The Ringer released their Top 100 list and ranked White at No. 56. Six Celtics cracked The Ringer’s rankings, as opposed to just four on ESPN’s list.
Ahead of Boston’s fourth preseason game against New York, White addressed whether the snub surprised him or not.
"“Was I surprised? I mean, that’s just kind of how my life has always been, so not really surprised … It is what it is. I don’t really focus too much on it.”"
Through four preseason games, White looked exceptional next to his new teammates Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. White averaged 10.5 points in just 22.3 minutes per game, shooting 48.4% from the field and 35.3% from three. The defensive stud also put forth a rim-protecting clinic with 1.8 blocks per game.
Given his predictably reduced playing time, White’s preseason may not seem special at first glance. However, his per-minute production was incredible. Per 36 minutes, White posted 17.0 points per game and served up an outrageous 2.9 blocks per game.
With the season opener looming closer for Boston, White looks poised for another productive campaign with the Celtics. All 150 of ESPN’s NBArank panel members are bound to look silly by the end of the season.