Dismantling the Nuggets: Derrick White’s Monster Performance
A new hope for the long-shot Spurs
Coming into the 2018 season, expectations for Derrick White were high due to his high draft capital the year before: 29th overall. This was even more apparent considering most of his rookie campaign was on the Spurs’ G-League Team, only playing 15 games for San Antonio last year. However his immediate future in San Antonio looked grim, as he was benched in favor for DeJounte Murray as the starting Point Guard going into the 2019 season. Unfortunately, Murray tore his ACL in just the second preseason game, ending his season, leaving way for White to start- and oh boy did he make the most of it. In the regular season White had a few great games including a career high (at the time) 26-point showing against the Brooklyn Nets. But all of these showings paled in comparison to his jaw-dropping performance against the Denver Nuggets last night where he scored 26-points in the first half alone. He was the biggest contributing factor in the Spurs momentous Game 3 win against the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs, giving the Spurs a 2-1 lead.
His performance was so good that the Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone said in the post-game interview: “Derrick White came out like he hadn’t eaten in two days. He came out hungry. He came out pissed off. And he sent a very loud and clear message.” and concluded “White dominated the game tonight…He did not feel us tonight” Further proving his dominance, White became the first player to have a 35 5-5 playoff game in his first 2 seasons since Dwayne Wade. He ended the night with 36 total points, 5 Rebounds and 5 Assists, shooting, his full from the game are here. Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s response to a question about White’s performance sums everything up: “Do I have to answer that question? You were at the game right? Well, he was obviously spectacular and I don’t know what else to say.”
Throughout his career, White has fought through much adversity: from playing mostly Division 3 college ball, to being benched to start the 2019 preseason, to now the Spurs being a +140 underdog to the Nuggets going into game 3. His spectacular performance and perseverance goes to show just how good of a player he is now and his potential greatness into the future. Judging from his latest performances, it looks like the Spurs have landed yet another stud from the draft.
*Featured Photo from The Denver Post