Gregg Popovich shared effusive praise for potential first-time All-Star Derrick White (17/5/2) after the Boston Celtics defeated the San Antonio Spurs 134-101 on New Year's Eve 2023/2024 at the TD Garden; claiming he was proud of the former Spurs draft pick who blossomed into a bona fide starter in the Alamo City.
“Couldn’t be more proud of a player,” Popovich told reporters on December 31 (h/t MassLive). “When he first came, I don’t think he believed he belonged in the NBA. To watch him develop through the years, started here with the G-League. Playing with us and then starting for us and then taking more steps in Boston has just been a thrill to watch.
“He’s one of the greatest guys ever. His confidence has just exploded. It’s been a process. He’s been in the league now, six, seven years. I’m not sure anymore. But he’s a great story. And starting out at the bottom and believing in himself and doing the work necessary to get where he is now. Just thrilled for him.”
Derrick White and the Boston Celtics the perfect fit for each other
White was lucky to walk into such a stable organization in the Spurs out of the gate in his NBA career, and Celtics must be thankful that Popovich's influence was so strong in White's development -- at least to the point where the San Antonio coach said was proud.
By that same token, though, White is equally as lucky to join another stable organization under Brad Stevens that has given him legitimate chances at an NBA Championship. None more so than this season.
Boston and White are lucky to have been able to find each other, and the rest of the league is now on notice given that the union is nearing the two-year mark and still has potential to get better.