Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley believes that the fourth wheel of the Boston Celtics' Big Four, Derrick White, is deserving of his first NBA All-Star selection for the 73rd February classic in Indianapolis; not because of his stats, but rather due to his beyond-the-boxscore contributions to winning.
"White is regarded as a 94th percentile stopper by Dunks & Threes' defensive estimated plus/minus metric," Buckley prefaced before saying, "For context, that puts White on the same tier as Giannis Antetokounmpo, a former Defensive Player of the Year, and OG Anunoby, an All-Defensive second-teamer last season.
"Look beyond White's surface stats and toward his impact on winning at both ends, and it's clear he's more than just a contender for an All-Star spot—he's deserving of a career-first selection."
Derrick White could be playing his way into near-max contract with Boston Celtics
While Buckley may downplay White's stat line, No. 9 is amid a career year; one in which he's averaging a career-high in points per game despite not putting up a career-high in shot attempts per game. White's also averaging a career-high in assists. Put these elements together combined with White's defensive numbers, and you have an overachiever who has reached star status with the Celtics in his nearly two years in Boston.
You also likely have a player who has earned a near-max contract and could push the C's tax bill into back-breaking territory for Wyc Grousbeck and Co.
Once White receives that money, one of two things will happen: White will either be recognized as a star by shedding the underrated label quickly as a productive player or be viewed as overpaid and a must-trade.
It's the nature of the beast in Boston, which has the franchise in most need of a championship the next two Junes; less face constant questions about if this roster can actually get the job done when the games matter most.