Every Boston Celtics fan should have wished for the same thing this Christmas: a lifetime contract for Derrick White to stay with the Cs until he retires.
If such a contract existed, Boston’s front office would have probably already offered it to White. Sadly, we live in the real world where Celtics fans will have to wait until next offseason to see if D-White agrees to an extension or decides to hit free agency in the summer of 2025.
Regardless of his future in Beantown, White is presently playing the best basketball of his life. He ranks second in the entire NBA in individual net rating with a 14.2 mark this season. Boasting a league-best 25-6 record, the 2023-24 Celtics have reaped the rewards of White’s incredible efforts.
A true two-way monster, White has recorded 2.6 blocks per game over his last seven contests. In the month of December, the All-Defensive point guard has averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.9 blocks with a team-high +126 plus-minus. He has shot 52.8% from the field, 45.7% from three, and 94.1% from the free throw line. Needless to say, Celtics fans have enjoyed the ultimate White Christmas this holiday season.
Playing defense from another planet and shooting with off-the-charts efficiency, White has entered rarified air this season. White has joined the great LeBron James as one of only two players in NBA history to record at least 125 assists, 90 rebounds, 25 blocks, 25 steals, and 65 3-pointers through their first 25 games of a season.
In Boston’s latest win over the Toronto Raptors, White became just the third guard in NBA history to record two or more blocks in seven straight games. The 6-foot-4 baller protects the rim like a big man, and his current streak of games with multiple blocks matches basketball icon Michael Jordan's for the second-longest of its kind by a guard.
On the season, White has posted 17.0 points per game and 5.3 dimes per game while nailing 48.6% of his shot attempts, 41.3% of his threes, and 89.2% of his freebies. He also leads Boston in total assists, steals, and plus-minus.
Given his career-high marks in almost every statistical category, White makes a serious case for the NBA’s Most Improved Player. For reference, White averaged around eight points per game last December and around 12 points per game for the season.
If White maintains his current pace with a 1.4% shooting increase from the field, he will join all-time greats Larry Bird, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant as the only players ever to have averaged at least one steal and one block while shooting at least 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 85% from the free throw line.
D-White made even more history with a recent stretch leading up to the Raptors win. He became the first player to pile up at least 200 points, 50 assists, 30 rebounds, 20 blocks, and 10 steals on 50.0% shooting from the field, 45.0% shooting from three, and 90.0% shooting on free throws in a 10-game stretch of any kind.
White has earned serious All-Star buzz with his recent play. Given the plethora of talented guards in the Eastern Conference, making the big game would prove a tall task. However, the beloved Celtic has an outside chance to shock the world.
Simply put, D-White is a do-it-all player in every way imaginable. Head coach Joe Mazzulla recently called White an All-Star himself – and for good reason.
"D-White was big … We trust him and empower him to be himself. Lot of guys out, perfect opportunity for D-White to show who he is."- Jaylen Brown
Jayson Tatum missed the contest, along with Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford, but White did enough to help Boston secure a 120-118 victory. Despite uncharacteristic shooting struggles, White poured in 21 points, seven assists, three steals, and two blocks. The C’s stayed an undefeated 16-0 at home on the season.
Almost 30 games into his breakout campaign, White joins reigning MVP Joel Embiid and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo as one of only three players averaging at least 15 points, five assists, one steal, and one block on 50.0% shooting from the field or better.
Derrick White is the reason for the season for Boston Celtics fans
The Celtics would not be where they are today without White. Boston fans were understandably heartbroken when General Manager Brad Stevens traded fan favorite Marcus Smart for Porzingis this past offseason. However, the three-team blockbuster deal gave the C’s an incredible two-way weapon in Porzingis, and it opened up new opportunities for White to shine as the team’s primary floor general.
With heightened ball-handling responsibilities and a resounding vote of confidence from his coaches and teammates, Derrick White has officially reached another level.