Derrick White, extends 4yrs/$125.9M

RG33

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Great article. D White at 45% FG and 37.5% 3PT is an incredibly good basketball player and so fun to watch.

Per the article, block numbers are pretty remarkable:

Derrick White 30 (#2 for guards)
SGA 34 (#1 for guards)
——————————————————-
Horford 30
Tatum 30
Rudy Gobert 38
Jakob Poeltl 30
Draymond Green 27
Jarrett Allen 35

Derrick White also has the #3 plus/minus in the NBA this year at +220 (26 mpg) — behind only Nikola Jokic (+250) and Jayson Tatum (+256) who are 34mpg and 36mpg, resepectively.
 

benhogan

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Great article. D White at 45% FG and 37.5% 3PT is an incredibly good basketball player and so fun to watch.

Per the article, block numbers are pretty remarkable:

Derrick White 30 (#2 for guards)
SGA 34 (#1 for guards)
——————————————————-
Horford 30
Tatum 30
Rudy Gobert 38
Jakob Poeltl 30
Draymond Green 27
Jarrett Allen 35

Derrick White also has the #3 plus/minus in the NBA this year at +220 (26 mpg) — behind only Nikola Jokic (+250) and Jayson Tatum (+256) who are 34mpg and 36mpg, resepectively.
White's +/- and ON/OFF have been positive every single season.

Additionally, Derrick had a substantially better +/- & ON/OFF than Dejounte Murray during their time in San Antonio together.

White career +5.1 // +5.8
Murray career +1.1 // +2.6

ATL paid 3 better FRPs + a swap for Murray.

Similar contract money, White is signed 1-year longer. Boston got an additional half-season upfront

Nice Guy Brad will start to get a reputation if he keeps this up...
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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defacto Derrick White thread

advanced stats darling

DW talks about CJM's love of soccer and how he stresses spacing
Thanks for posting but you buried the lede - JMazz almost hired JJ to be an assistant on the Cs? Would have loved to hear why that didn't work out.

Also, we can definitely blame Reddick for White's shooting slump. Hope Reddick stays away from Hauser! :)
 

HomeRunBaker

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Thanks for posting but you buried the lede - JMazz almost hired JJ to be an assistant on the Cs? Would have loved to hear why that didn't work out.

Also, we can definitely blame Reddick for White's shooting slump. Hope Reddick stays away from Hauser! :)
Without knowing anything else about this if I’m JJ Redick I’d never leave his blossoming media career to be an NBA assistant coach. I’d guess it wasn’t any more complicated than that.
 

benhogan

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Without knowing anything else about this if I’m JJ Redick I’d never leave his blossoming media career to be an NBA assistant coach. I’d guess it wasn’t any more complicated than that.
He has too many family obligations, his kid Knox is really into hoops. BUT he's definitely interested in coaching.
 

Euclis20

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White really is the ultimate glue guy, but he's a lot more useful if his current shooting numbers (.448/.375) are what we can expect for the rest of the year. I worry that his current streak will continue and his shooting will drop closer to his averages over the last 2 years (.417/.325). He's still very effective because of his defense, but if he can't reliably hit open shots, I expect we'll see more of Brogdon (not the worst problem to have).
 

lars10

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White really is the ultimate glue guy, but he's a lot more useful if his current shooting numbers (.448/.375) are what we can expect for the rest of the year. I worry that his current streak will continue and his shooting will drop closer to his averages over the last 2 years (.417/.325). He's still very effective because of his defense, but if he can't reliably hit open shots, I expect we'll see more of Brogdon (not the worst problem to have).
Would be interesting to see what the numbers are for covered, open, wide open etc his shots have been taken this year vs. other years. This C's offense seems to be hyper-focused on getting as wide open shots as possible... so I wouldn't be surprised that he's taking a lot more shots without a hand in his face.
 

serotonin

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Would be interesting to see what the numbers are for covered, open, wide open etc his shots have been taken this year vs. other years. This C's offense seems to be hyper-focused on getting as wide open shots as possible... so I wouldn't be surprised that he's taking a lot more shots without a hand in his face.
Got this from NBA.com, it's only wide open (6+ feet) 3s and guys are definitely taking more of them (not counting JB and JT). Apologies for the formatting, which I'm too tired to figure out:
White
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 31.1 0.9 2.3 40.5
21-22 24.4 0.9 2.6 35.4
20-21 25.9 1.1 3.3 35.0
19-20 20.7 0.7 1.7 38.9

Brogdon
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 33.7 1.4 3.3 43.9
21-22 25.2 1.3 3.8 34.3
20-21 25.3 1.8 4.4 40.3
19-20 20.9 0.9 2.9 32.3

Smart
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 29.8 0.9 2.8 33.0
21-22 26.2 1.0 2.6 38.9
20-21 25.7 1.0 2.7 37.4
19-20 23.8 1.0 2.7 35.8

Horford
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 56.0(!) 1.8 4.2 42.9
21-22 36.0 1.1 3.0 35.6
20-21 29.2 1.5 3.8 39.0
19-20 28.2 1.1 3.0 37.5
 

lars10

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Got this from NBA.com, it's only wide open (6+ feet) 3s and guys are definitely taking more of them (not counting JB and JT). Apologies for the formatting, which I'm too tired to figure out:
White
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 31.1 0.9 2.3 40.5
21-22 24.4 0.9 2.6 35.4
20-21 25.9 1.1 3.3 35.0
19-20 20.7 0.7 1.7 38.9

Brogdon
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 33.7 1.4 3.3 43.9
21-22 25.2 1.3 3.8 34.3
20-21 25.3 1.8 4.4 40.3
19-20 20.9 0.9 2.9 32.3

Smart
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 29.8 0.9 2.8 33.0
21-22 26.2 1.0 2.6 38.9
20-21 25.7 1.0 2.7 37.4
19-20 23.8 1.0 2.7 35.8

Horford
season freq 3PM 3PA 3P%
22-23 56.0(!) 1.8 4.2 42.9
21-22 36.0 1.1 3.0 35.6
20-21 29.2 1.5 3.8 39.0
19-20 28.2 1.1 3.0 37.5
Strange that Smart is the only one who has gotten worse.

main thing it shows is the ball movement is working and Al is the main beneficiary.
 

benhogan

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Condensed back story
-6', 150lbs coming out of Colorado HS
-not recruited
-D-2 walk-on at UCCS
- 14 schools in the RMAC Conference that didn't recruit him so he wore #14
-eventually All-American avg 26ppg at UCCS by his Junior season
-transfers to UC-Boulder his Sr year / sits out a season
-worked at C.Billups camp in the Summer and gets noticed by Chauncey/Jamal Crawford
-gets drafted by the Spurs
-pays off student loans with his first NBA check

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FF1qSYPiM0
 

joe dokes

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I like his array of old man moves in the lane. Rarely flashy, but he seems to have an infinite variety of tricks to deal with bigger defenders..
 

HomeRunBaker

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I like his array of old man moves in the lane. Rarely flashy, but he seems to have an infinite variety of tricks to deal with bigger defenders..
When any Coach brings you overseas to be a role player on a national team that is a sign that you do things the right way and are a good influence on the group as a whole…….

When that Coach is Gregg Freakin Popovich the player’s reputation should never be questioned.
 

radsoxfan

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White is such a good fit as a solid well rounded, above average player. He's very capable of playing 25 minutes, scoring less than 10 points, and still having a very positive effect on the game. Often that's all that's needed on a team with JT/JB. The type of guy that helps boost playoff teams into championship teams.

He is obviously miscast if he is one of the best players on your team, but slotting him in the 5-7 range of the rotation is an huge luxury.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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Condensed back story
-6', 150lbs coming out of Colorado HS
-not recruited
-D-2 walk-on at UCCS
- 14 schools in the RMAC Conference that didn't recruit him so he wore #14
-eventually All-American avg 26ppg at UCCS by his Junior season
-transfers to UC-Boulder his Sr year / sits out a season
-worked at C.Billups camp in the Summer and gets noticed by Chauncey/Jamal Crawford
-gets drafted by the Spurs
-pays off student loans with his first NBA check

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FF1qSYPiM0
Should we call him Elmer or Spunk because he is White glue?
How about Seabiscuit?
 

Eddie Jurak

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White's career stats right now are a good example of Simpson's paradox.

His FG% with SA was 0.445, with Boston .430.

But his 3FG% is ever so slightly better with Boston than with SA: 0.345 with BOS, 0.344 with SA.
And his 2FG% is also ever so slight better with Boston than with SA: 0.518 with BOS, 0.514 with SA.

But he's shooting more threes, so his overall perccentage is lower.
 

luckiestman

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White's career stats right now are a good example of Simpson's paradox.

His FG% with SA was 0.445, with Boston .430.

But his 3FG% is ever so slightly better with Boston than with SA: 0.345 with BOS, 0.344 with SA.
And his 2FG% is also ever so slight better with Boston than with SA: 0.518 with BOS, 0.514 with SA.

But he's shooting more threes, so his overall perccentage is lower.
Good stuff, thanks for pointing it out
 

DGreenwood

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Thanks for posting but you buried the lede - JMazz almost hired JJ to be an assistant on the Cs? Would have loved to hear why that didn't work out.

Also, we can definitely blame Reddick for White's shooting slump. Hope Reddick stays away from Hauser! :)
Without knowing anything else about this if I’m JJ Redick I’d never leave his blossoming media career to be an NBA assistant coach. I’d guess it wasn’t any more complicated than that.
He has too many family obligations, his kid Knox is really into hoops. BUT he's definitely interested in coaching.
I'm a little late with the reply but in case anyone is still interested, here's JJ talking about meeting with Brad and Joe about coming on as an assistant.

View: https://youtu.be/KuWL2c5n7-E?t=130
 

benhogan

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I'm a little late with the reply but in case anyone is still interested, here's JJ talking about meeting with Brad and Joe about coming on as an assistant.

View: https://youtu.be/KuWL2c5n7-E?t=130
Thanks for posting. I agree with HRB and think JJ should stay with the media gig. I see him being the lead NBA ESPN game analyst.

I guess when the competition is JVG, Mark Jackson and Doris the bar isn't very high...
 

Smokey Joe

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Thanks for posting. I agree with HRB and think JJ should stay with the media gig. I see him being the lead NBA ESPN game analyst.

I guess when the competition is JVG, Mark Jackson and Doris the bar isn't very high...
Hey, he is in the enviable position of being able to do what he wants with the next twenty years of his life. Maybe he doesn’t want to become an empty suit on ESPN.
 

Fishy1

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Demise of his three point shooting much exaggerated, so far anyway. He had a rough stretch where he went 0-12 in 4 straight games from 12/16-12/23. He's now 12-17 in his last three games and back up to shooting .378. Yet to be seen if he sustains it (obviously), but the abymsal stretches seem to be much shorter this year.
 

PedroKsBambino

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He is just who we thought/hoped he was---a great 'glue guy' who is versatile, pretty good at everything, and able to defend 1-3 effectively.

Without being spectacular at anything, he's so valuable---he's a secondary PG, a secondary defensive stopper, can create a shot especially in a second-unit role, and always competes. If the 3 PT shooting stays at 36% or above he's really valuable, and I agree there's reason for hope that will be true---even if not all the way to 40%

He and Smart are somewhat duplicative in theory, but in practice it's just such a luxury to have both
 

InstaFace

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I like his array of old man moves in the lane. Rarely flashy, but he seems to have an infinite variety of tricks to deal with bigger defenders..
In this category: Yesterday, White found himself guarding Mason Plumlee solo in the low post as the entry pass found Plumlee. As Plumlee turned, White did the only thing he could do in that situation - tried to slap the ball out of his hand. Which he did, but White got called for the foul. Luckily, Plumlee is a 59% FT shooter.

It stuck me that the instinct there for most players would be to (futilely) try to contest the shot, or try to prevent being backed down, or expect that help was coming. Smart would firstly try to deny the entry pass and secondly would use every ounce of strength to resist being backed down, but White instinctively knew his only asset there was quick hands. I see that and kinda go "huh... good stuff".

edit: and as the article above notes,

White noticed how Green was able to impact opposing shots without fouling. Celtics teammates marvel at White’s ability to do the same.

“Every time I try to swipe down in the paint I’m getting called for a foul,” said Robert Williams. “He’s getting it (clean) though. And he’s swiping hard. That’s one of his best traits, man, honestly.”
I'd agree.
 
Last edited:

lovegtm

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He and Smart are somewhat duplicative in theory, but in practice it's just such a luxury to have both
Right, he and Smart both play bigger than their size, so duplicative is fine: plenty of minutes at the 1-3 combined.
 

Euclis20

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Right, he and Smart both play bigger than their size, so duplicative is fine: plenty of minutes at the 1-3 combined.
Yup, as long as they can play together it's not remotely a problem. Can't have too many willing passers and playmakers who can defend multiple positions. How many teams have three quality point guards that can all be on the court at the same time?
 

lovegtm

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They're really starting to find something as they get comfortable featuring White more. He needs the ball in his hands even (especially?) when Jaylen is back.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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This PBS move looked good at the time and is becoming even better. Best 3-pt shooting percentage, eFG percentage, and A/TO ration of White's career. The Lakers were talking about their "pre-agency" moves this week, but Brad was doing the same at this time last year in prep for the 2022-23 season, even at the same time as trying to improve the 21-22 playoff roster.
 

lovegtm

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I don't think the Celtics will change anything too much as a result of this Derrick White, Unleashed stretch, but one thing they might do more is use White to get Jaylen off the ball. White looks really good as a primary initiator: he gets some advantages, makes good decisions, and doesn't turn the ball over. Really would like to see him loosening up the D for Jaylen and Tatum, and getting them the ball in their spots, the way Smart has done well with the first unit.
 

benhogan

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Per PbP Stats, the Celtics are over 8 points per 100 possessions better when Derrick White is on the court. If all in one metrics are your thing, he leads the team in 538’s RAPTOR and he’s second on the team in BBall Index’s LEBRON and ESPN’s Estimated Plus Minus. White is also 5th in PPG and 3rd in APG while only turning the ball over a measly 1.1 times per game despite operating as the nominal point guard often. He also hasn’t missed a game.

He leads the team in total number of blocks and is second behind Robert Williams in blocks per game. The defense is 2.8 points per 100 possessions worse when Derrick White isn’t out there.


https://www.celticsblog.com/2023/2/17/23602975/first-to-the-floor-awards-at-all-star-break-boston-celtics
 

Eddie Jurak

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I just looked at White on cleaning the glass. He has been a positive on/off player every season of his career with one exception: he was a negative with Boston last year, after the trade.

He doesn't have a lot of playoff experience. As a rookie in 2018, he played only 7 non-garbage minutes and was a negative. The following year, he played starter minutes in one series in which the Spurs lost, and he was net positive. Then last season with the Celtics he was net negative.

"Adjustment to new team" could account for last season after the trade.
 

benhogan

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I just looked at White on cleaning the glass. He has been a positive on/off player every season of his career with one exception: he was a negative with Boston last year, after the trade.

He doesn't have a lot of playoff experience. As a rookie in 2018, he played only 7 non-garbage minutes and was a negative. The following year, he played starter minutes in one series in which the Spurs lost, and he was net positive. Then last season with the Celtics he was net negative.

"Adjustment to new team" could account for last season after the trade.
really? Basketball Ref has him as a +5.6 On-Off Net per 100 possessions with Boston in the regular season last year

Obviously On-Off is very noisy over short periods of time.
I like to look after 750-100 minutes to get some sort of indication. YMMV

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/whitede01/on-off/2022

BTW I looked at Cleaning the Glass and you are correct. I know they take out garbage time CTG: 709 minutes // BR: 713 minutes
 
Last edited:

Eddie Jurak

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really? Basketball Ref has him as a +5.6 On-Off Net per 100 possessions with Boston in the regular season last year

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/whitede01/on-off/2022
Here's how ctg rates his regular seasons by efficiency differential (percentile):
  • 2018-19: +3.4 (73rd)
  • 2019-20: +4.1 (75th)
  • 2020-21: +8.6 (90th)
  • 2021-22 (Spurs): +4.7 (77th)
  • 2021-22 (Celtics): -5.4 (23rd)
  • 2022-23: +6.6 (86th)
Team points scored per 100 possessions minus team points allowed per 100 is their metric.
 

benhogan

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Here's how ctg rates his regular seasons by efficiency differential (percentile):
  • 2018-19: +3.4 (73rd)
  • 2019-20: +4.1 (75th)
  • 2020-21: +8.6 (90th)
  • 2021-22 (Spurs): +4.7 (77th)
  • 2021-22 (Celtics): -5.4 (23rd)
  • 2022-23: +6.6 (86th)
Team points scored per 100 possessions minus team points allowed per 100 is their metric.
Ben Falk at CTG was kind enough to clarify the difference

On CTG, off court stats are included only for games in which the player was on the roster. That means if a player is traded mid-season, the rest of the season's stats for that team are not included in his off-court stats. The Celtics were really good after trading for White, but during that time were better with him off court than on. My guess is on Basketball-Reference they look at his plus minus compared to all games the team played that year, and since the Celtics were so good during the time White was on the roster, it probably makes it a strong positive overall.

I'm not sure which one is necessarily better than another, it depends what you're looking to answer, but I figured my definition was more in the spirit of what people think on vs. off court comparison means.
 

Jimbodandy

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Ben Falk at CTG was kind enough to clarify the difference

On CTG, off court stats are included only for games in which the player was on the roster. That means if a player is traded mid-season, the rest of the season's stats for that team are not included in his off-court stats. The Celtics were really good after trading for White, but during that time were better with him off court than on. My guess is on Basketball-Reference they look at his plus minus compared to all games the team played that year, and since the Celtics were so good during the time White was on the roster, it probably makes it a strong positive overall.

I'm not sure which one is necessarily better than another, it depends what you're looking to answer, but I figured my definition was more in the spirit of what people think on vs. off court comparison means.
FWIW, to the eye test he was clearly finding his way in a new environment last year. He is such a jack of all trades guy that I think that it is less plug and play. Like, a guy like Muscala can come in and jack spot up 3s without needing to know a hell of a lot about the offense. White has obviously sorted out where he fits in and can contribute at both ends, given an offseason. Brogdon had a camp and shit and never looked back. Derrick is gold. Probably knows both the offense and defense better than anyone on the team now.
 

benhogan

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FWIW, to the eye test he was clearly finding his way in a new environment last year. He is such a jack of all trades guy that I think that it is less plug and play. Like, a guy like Muscala can come in and jack spot up 3s without needing to know a hell of a lot about the offense. White has obviously sorted out where he fits in and can contribute at both ends, given an offseason. Brogdon had a camp and shit and never looked back. Derrick is gold. Probably knows both the offense and defense better than anyone on the team now.
Yep sounds about right. CTG gives us a better indication on Derrick's impact than BRef last season. DW was still playing on units that were positive, he just wasn't on the 2BIGz starting unit juggernaut.

This year's version of White makes few errors (A/TO, eFG%) on offense. While blocking, stealing, and drawing fouls (moving screens/charges) on defense. Always available. Exactly the type of player you want around the JAYs.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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FWIW, to the eye test he was clearly finding his way in a new environment last year. He is such a jack of all trades guy that I think that it is less plug and play. Like, a guy like Muscala can come in and jack spot up 3s without needing to know a hell of a lot about the offense. White has obviously sorted out where he fits in and can contribute at both ends, given an offseason. Brogdon had a camp and shit and never looked back. Derrick is gold. Probably knows both the offense and defense better than anyone on the team now.
I know that some people consider players fully formed at age X but human development isn't really linear. White's season feels like a combination of increased comfort coupled with all around improvement in efficiency.

If it was just shooting you could chalk up White's season thus far to variance but he is at or near his career highs across a range of categories. Its straight up fantastic when a team trades for a good player and the fit turns out even better than expected.
 

benhogan

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Somebody needs to introduce Derrick's dad to SoSH

https://theathletic.com/4270359/2023/03/03/celtics-derrick-white-analytics-dad/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983


his father, Richard — a “stat nerd,” according to his son — will scan the league’s defensive tracking data to monitor the game’s contested shots and other hustle metrics.

It’s perfect, really, that White’s dad owns such an appreciation for the numbers that go deeper than points, rebounds and assists. Though Derrick has never been one of the NBA’s leading scorers, his impact has always been seen more clearly in advanced statistics. In this case, a math wiz raised a darling of modern basketball analytics.

“People always say, ‘Oh yeah, the eye test,’” says Richard. “Well, the eye test is biased. Because if you like a person, no matter what they do, you can’t talk them out of it. So, the numbers are the numbers. The results are the results.”

This season, the numbers rank White as one of the most impactful players on one of the NBA’s best teams. The Celtics have outscored opponents by 342 total points during his playing time, putting him at sixth in the league in overall plus/minus. Of course, that is dictated largely by team success, which is why the top-six solely includes players from the Nuggets and Celtics. Still, Boston has been about an average team this season with White on the bench. When he’s on the court, the Celtics have blasted opponents by 10.5 points per 100 possessions. Their offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency have both jumped significantly with White in the lineup.

Like simple on/off metrics, catch-all stats come with a lot of noise, but many of them value White highly. He ranks second on the Celtics and 40th in the league with 5.3 win shares. Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) also puts White second behind Tatum among Celtics players, while placing him 45th in the NBA. ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus slots White at 50th in the league, three spots ahead of Jamal Murray, five spots ahead of Jrue Holiday and seven spots ahead of Trae Young.

Even while White ranks 110th in scoring average, the overwhelming evidence suggests that his overall contributions put him in a much more exclusive company. He excels by making the right play over and over again, consistently tweaking the odds in his team’s favor as fans like his father can appreciate.

Richard, who works in the computer field, says he has always had an affinity for numbers. In baseball, he grew obsessed with batting averages and other stats. He says he became “pretty maniacal” about the game Strat-O-Matic, which allows users to simulate baseball games with the roll of dice while controlling the decisions of a manager. If sports analytics departments had been built up when he entered the workforce, Richard says he would have looked for that type of job.

“Gathering the data and then giving my assessment on what the data actually means,” he says. “Because if you have a representative sample size — and that’s where the eye test fails you, because the eye test is like, ‘Hey, I want this to happen’ even though the numbers aren’t there. With me, it’s like, whether it be lineups or teams or whatever, you have to look at different trends.”

Derrick’s ascension to the NBA has given his father reason to add another numbers-based hobby. After games, Richard can sometimes be found on Twitter complaining that the league has not released its tracking data in a timely fashion.

“So, he just found this new tracking (data), and, so, it just gives him more numbers and more things to look at,” says Derrick. “He doesn’t necessarily tell me about it. He used to, and then, he kind of stopped. But yeah, he’s a stat nerd, and he loves numbers, and he’s just having fun with it.”

Defensive metrics in basketball aren’t perfect. Many of them actually leave a lot to be desired. Still, Richard knows the numbers that are readily available shine light on some of the ways his son lifts the Celtics. Back in San Antonio, where he started his career, Derrick used to have a running competition with LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl over who would block more shots. Often, Derrick would win despite giving up at least seven inches to each player. He has long been one of the league’s best shot blockers his size.

Naturally, Derrick also contests far more shots than the average guard. Among all players shorter than 6-foot-7, White ranks fourth in contested shots per game behind Draymond Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Bogdan Bogdanovic. At that size, only Green has contested more 2-point attempts per game. He’s one of the best defensive big men ever. White is a 6-foot-4 guard.

“You could turn on any media outlet and they can tell you how many points Luka (Dončić), LeBron (James) or Jayson Tatum score,” says Richard. “But they rarely dig down into the defensive numbers. When he was in San Antonio, I found the player tracking. And then, when I looked, if you looked around at guards, he was one of the top players. You can’t really stop NBA players. They have unlimited dribbles, unlimited space and they can get wherever they want. But if you’re contesting the most shots, their percentage goes down a little bit. … You can look at (contested shots). They keep track of charges (taken) and those kinds of things. It was a way to kind of validate his defensive (impact) because what he’s doing in Boston is what he did in San Antonio, but nobody knew. Or nobody even cared.”

The Celtics cared. They sent Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, a 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2028 pick swap to San Antonio for Derrick prior to the 2022 trade deadline. After arriving in Boston, Derrick factored heavily into the team’s stunning midseason turnaround. He fit in seamlessly, giving the Celtics a little bit of everything. He could play on the ball or off it. He could defend bigger players or quicker ones. His shot abandoned him at times but he focused on improving it over the offseason. In other ways, it became clear immediately how well Derrick complimented Boston’s other best players. That failed to surprise the Whites.

The numbers favor him the way they do because he does just about everything at a high level. He hustles around screens. He delivers the extra pass. On a Celtics team loaded with talented players, he has been able to take on a bigger role when necessary, but has also been willing to step back into a complementary fashion. During Smart’s recent 11-game absence, Derrick averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game on 49.1 percent shooting from the field, including 43.6 percent on 3-point attempts.

“The thing with his contests is that if you’re contesting, they’re moving the ball around or they don’t get to fully extend to the rim because you’re in the way,” says Richard. “And that allows off-ball (defenders) like Rob (Williams) to come in and get shot blocks. When you have a lot of people with the same mentality that they want to attempt to play defense, it makes it a lot easier.”

As the numbers show.
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
8,198
The Celtics needed to surround the Jays with complementary players with all around games. Getting White, Brogdon, and Smart on the same roster was an amazing feat. The only problem is that all three of them can‘t play at crunch time. One workaround is to overwhelm teams in the first three quarters with your quality depth, so there aren’t a lot of games that go into crunch time. Hopefully the Celts will storm teams the last quarter of the season, like they did last season.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,530
Somebody needs to introduce Derrick's dad to SoSH

https://theathletic.com/4270359/2023/03/03/celtics-derrick-white-analytics-dad/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983


his father, Richard — a “stat nerd,” according to his son — will scan the league’s defensive tracking data to monitor the game’s contested shots and other hustle metrics.

It’s perfect, really, that White’s dad owns such an appreciation for the numbers that go deeper than points, rebounds and assists. Though Derrick has never been one of the NBA’s leading scorers, his impact has always been seen more clearly in advanced statistics. In this case, a math wiz raised a darling of modern basketball analytics.

“People always say, ‘Oh yeah, the eye test,’” says Richard. “Well, the eye test is biased. Because if you like a person, no matter what they do, you can’t talk them out of it. So, the numbers are the numbers. The results are the results.”

This season, the numbers rank White as one of the most impactful players on one of the NBA’s best teams. The Celtics have outscored opponents by 342 total points during his playing time, putting him at sixth in the league in overall plus/minus. Of course, that is dictated largely by team success, which is why the top-six solely includes players from the Nuggets and Celtics. Still, Boston has been about an average team this season with White on the bench. When he’s on the court, the Celtics have blasted opponents by 10.5 points per 100 possessions. Their offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency have both jumped significantly with White in the lineup.

Like simple on/off metrics, catch-all stats come with a lot of noise, but many of them value White highly. He ranks second on the Celtics and 40th in the league with 5.3 win shares. Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) also puts White second behind Tatum among Celtics players, while placing him 45th in the NBA. ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus slots White at 50th in the league, three spots ahead of Jamal Murray, five spots ahead of Jrue Holiday and seven spots ahead of Trae Young.

Even while White ranks 110th in scoring average, the overwhelming evidence suggests that his overall contributions put him in a much more exclusive company. He excels by making the right play over and over again, consistently tweaking the odds in his team’s favor as fans like his father can appreciate.

Richard, who works in the computer field, says he has always had an affinity for numbers. In baseball, he grew obsessed with batting averages and other stats. He says he became “pretty maniacal” about the game Strat-O-Matic, which allows users to simulate baseball games with the roll of dice while controlling the decisions of a manager. If sports analytics departments had been built up when he entered the workforce, Richard says he would have looked for that type of job.

“Gathering the data and then giving my assessment on what the data actually means,” he says. “Because if you have a representative sample size — and that’s where the eye test fails you, because the eye test is like, ‘Hey, I want this to happen’ even though the numbers aren’t there. With me, it’s like, whether it be lineups or teams or whatever, you have to look at different trends.”

Derrick’s ascension to the NBA has given his father reason to add another numbers-based hobby. After games, Richard can sometimes be found on Twitter complaining that the league has not released its tracking data in a timely fashion.

“So, he just found this new tracking (data), and, so, it just gives him more numbers and more things to look at,” says Derrick. “He doesn’t necessarily tell me about it. He used to, and then, he kind of stopped. But yeah, he’s a stat nerd, and he loves numbers, and he’s just having fun with it.”

Defensive metrics in basketball aren’t perfect. Many of them actually leave a lot to be desired. Still, Richard knows the numbers that are readily available shine light on some of the ways his son lifts the Celtics. Back in San Antonio, where he started his career, Derrick used to have a running competition with LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl over who would block more shots. Often, Derrick would win despite giving up at least seven inches to each player. He has long been one of the league’s best shot blockers his size.

Naturally, Derrick also contests far more shots than the average guard. Among all players shorter than 6-foot-7, White ranks fourth in contested shots per game behind Draymond Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Bogdan Bogdanovic. At that size, only Green has contested more 2-point attempts per game. He’s one of the best defensive big men ever. White is a 6-foot-4 guard.

“You could turn on any media outlet and they can tell you how many points Luka (Dončić), LeBron (James) or Jayson Tatum score,” says Richard. “But they rarely dig down into the defensive numbers. When he was in San Antonio, I found the player tracking. And then, when I looked, if you looked around at guards, he was one of the top players. You can’t really stop NBA players. They have unlimited dribbles, unlimited space and they can get wherever they want. But if you’re contesting the most shots, their percentage goes down a little bit. … You can look at (contested shots). They keep track of charges (taken) and those kinds of things. It was a way to kind of validate his defensive (impact) because what he’s doing in Boston is what he did in San Antonio, but nobody knew. Or nobody even cared.”

The Celtics cared. They sent Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, a 2023 first-round draft pick and a 2028 pick swap to San Antonio for Derrick prior to the 2022 trade deadline. After arriving in Boston, Derrick factored heavily into the team’s stunning midseason turnaround. He fit in seamlessly, giving the Celtics a little bit of everything. He could play on the ball or off it. He could defend bigger players or quicker ones. His shot abandoned him at times but he focused on improving it over the offseason. In other ways, it became clear immediately how well Derrick complimented Boston’s other best players. That failed to surprise the Whites.

The numbers favor him the way they do because he does just about everything at a high level. He hustles around screens. He delivers the extra pass. On a Celtics team loaded with talented players, he has been able to take on a bigger role when necessary, but has also been willing to step back into a complementary fashion. During Smart’s recent 11-game absence, Derrick averaged 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game on 49.1 percent shooting from the field, including 43.6 percent on 3-point attempts.

“The thing with his contests is that if you’re contesting, they’re moving the ball around or they don’t get to fully extend to the rim because you’re in the way,” says Richard. “And that allows off-ball (defenders) like Rob (Williams) to come in and get shot blocks. When you have a lot of people with the same mentality that they want to attempt to play defense, it makes it a lot easier.”

As the numbers show.
That's great stuff. Does the story suggest that Dad's views had an impact on how White plays the game? We hear a lot of stories about how "Dad the basketball player (or coach) affected son the basketball player." This one would have a different twist.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,160
Santa Monica
That's great stuff. Does the story suggest that Dad's views had an impact on how White plays the game? We hear a lot of stories about how "Dad the basketball player (or coach) affected son the basketball player." This one would have a different twist.
Like Derrick, Richard values defense. As a middle schooler in Georgia, Richard says he once took enough charges in a single game to foul out three players. Derrick grew up playing next to several talented scorers. Richard would constantly preach the value of playing the game the right way. He wanted his son to do whatever the game dictated.

Derrick must have listened. The numbers favor him the way they do because he does just about everything at a high level. He hustles around screens. He delivers the extra pass. On a Celtics team loaded with talented players, he has been able to take on a bigger role when necessary, but has also been willing to step back into a complementary fashion.
 

bakahump

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 8, 2001
7,657
Maine
Stupid question.....
Is plus minus "normalized"?

Like if "when DW is on the floor we have outscored the opponent by 372 points". DW may only be on the floor for 22 mins a game. or say 1000 mins this season.
Another player may have outscored the opponent by 432 points" That player ....say Giannis for arguments sake......might play 35 mins a game. Or say 2100 mins this season.

It would seem that the MORE time your on the floor .....if your an "impactful player" you SHOULD outscore your opponent in plus minus. (but maybe thats not true??)

Maybe I am wrong??
But if true....does that make the player who plays less but outscores the opponents MORE Impactful ?

Would love to get a quick explanation if I am on the right thought process.
 

chilidawg

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 22, 2015
6,432
Cultural hub of the universe
Stupid question.....
Is plus minus "normalized"?

Like if "when DW is on the floor we have outscored the opponent by 372 points". DW may only be on the floor for 22 mins a game. or say 1000 mins this season.
Another player may have outscored the opponent by 432 points" That player ....say Giannis for arguments sake......might play 35 mins a game. Or say 2100 mins this season.

It would seem that the MORE time your on the floor .....if your an "impactful player" you SHOULD outscore your opponent in plus minus. (but maybe thats not true??)

Maybe I am wrong??
But if true....does that make the player who plays less but outscores the opponents MORE Impactful ?

Would love to get a quick explanation if I am on the right thought process.
The numbers you're using sound like raw numbers that aren't minutes or possession normalized. The +/- stat more commonly used (BRef) is how many points per 100 possessions the team is better (or worse) than the opponents when the player is on the court. On-Off gives you the difference between when a player is on the court and off. Hope that helps.
 

bakahump

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 8, 2001
7,657
Maine
Yea i think I was thrown off by @benhogan s first line

This season, the numbers rank White as one of the most impactful players on one of the NBA’s best teams. The Celtics have outscored opponents by 342 total points during his playing time, putting him at sixth in the league in overall plus/minus.
I see below that where he clarified the Per 100.