Derrick White reflects on time with Celtics: ‘I love it here' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
No one could have predicted Derrick White's emergence as an All-Star caliber player when the Boston Celtics traded for him just over two years ago. At the cost of Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, and a 2022 first-round pick -- which would be used to select Blake Wesley -- the San Antonio Spurs sent Boston a player that would unbeknownst to them become a key piece of the puzzle to an already loaded Celtics roster.
Now into his third season with the Celtics, White has found his role, succeeding as a great two-way player who can consistently make stops on defense and score the ball with ease. Despite making statistical leaps each year with the Celtics, White finally put the league on notice this season, coming up just shy of his first All-Star nod with a career-best stat line of 15.5 points, 4.8 assists, four rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and a steal per game.
"It seems crazy that it's already been two years," White told NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin before Sunday afternoon's tip-off against the Miami Heat. "A lot has changed for me personally, on the court and off the court, all great things. It's been great being a part of the Boston culture and being one with Boston -- I love it here."
With Boston always admiring effort, grit, and passion -- as seen with the loyalty and respect fans gave Marcus Smart in his recent homecoming game -- Celtics fans have quickly come to back White as a fan favorite, proven by his All-Star fan return votes coming in at just over 700,000.
White isn't the only newer player on the roster to show his appreciation to Boston, either -- Kristaps Porzingis has shown his gratitude to Celtics fans at every possible chance, constantly smiling when talking about his new team, city, and fans.
Less than a year ago, White -- who boasts a true underdog story after starting his college career at the Division II level -- saved the Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat. After going down 3-0 in the series, the higher-seeded Celtics had a chance to force a Game 7. With three seconds left on the clock, White inbounded the ball to Smart who immediately put up a 3-point shot. White, who has been known to have an incredible basketball IQ, had already crashed the boards off the inbound, caught the rebound in the air, and put it back in the net as time expired to win the game.
"The first time we played here [in Miami] a couple weeks ago, I definitely thought about it," White said of the putback play. "I don't really watch the play that much unless it pops up on something, but definitely a special moment and something I'll always have and think about when I come here."
White will now look forward to making more memorable moments as the C's look to beat the short-handed Heat, who have won four of their last five matchups, on Sunday afternoon in South Beach.