Underrated Boston Celtics rankings: Derrick White (56) , Kristaps Porzingis (59)
What Derrick White lacks in hair, he makes up for in basketball ability. The dynamic combo guard has transformed Boston’s backcourt into a two-way juggernaut. He’s the most well-rounded defensive guard in the league at the point of attack, and his weak side reactions are akin to that of an elite NFL-free safety.
The once timid White has a newfound swagger that has allowed him to flourish with the ball. He looks confident and ready to shoot coming off screens, which changes the Boston Celtics offense due to his efficiency. Where Marcus Smart could never understand when to take over the controls, White has perfected it. Every time this team needs to relax and muster a complete possession, Joe Mazzulla turns to Tatum and…White. There’s a reason for that.
Yet, White’s ascension has been no secret. ESPN left him off their version of the top 100, but they routinely post lazy and out-of-touch content. When you talk to basketball people, all would love to have a guy like White to be on their team.
As talented as he is, he isn’t better than the seven-three Latvian who can stretch the floor and protect the rim at an elite level. Kristaps Porzingis was a revelation last season, returning to All-Star form and having the best scoring output of his career. This idea that every great player in a mediocre situation is a “good stats, bad team” guy is lazy.
In the article, Pina attempts to justify the ranking.
“He (Porzingis) couldn’t quite be the second option on a good team, and he looked comfortable—maybe too comfortable—as the no. 1 on a bad team,” Pina wrote.
To call the Knicks or Mavericks teams he was on “good” is rather insulting, and the Wizards played competitive basketball for much of last season. The narrative around him is out of hand. In green, he’s shown in an ultra-small sample size that he is a winning player with a unique skill set perfect for the modern game. He’s easily top-50.