Where does Derrick White rank in NBA Top 100 now after October snub?

Where does Derrick White rank in NBA Top 100 now after October snub? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

ESPN unveiled its top 100 players for the 2023-24 season back in October and Derrick White was impossibly absent from the rankings. The entire NBA universe lost its mind. JJ Redick bemoaned voter oversight in his own employer’s poll. For his part, White just kinda shrugged it off.

But the past five months has only made White’s omission seem even wilder. The 29-year-old guard has been a two-way star for Boston’s talent-filled team. White made a strong case for All-Star consideration and, despite getting snubbed there too, seems to be steamrolling towards another All-Defense nod.

On Monday night, with Jayson Tatum (No. 6 in ESPN’s top 100) taking a rare rest night, White produced the first triple-double of his career while piling up 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists over 37 minutes in a win over the Detroit Pistons.

While it’s appropriate that White is being celebrated for a box score-stuffing accomplishment, the game box can only tell you so much about his impact. Even White fretted how he was stat-chasing midway through the fourth quarter while waiting for a teammate to simply knock down the shot that capped his triple-double (Payton Pritchard finally ended the wait with 6:25 to go).

Luke Kornet, Jrue Holiday, and Al Horford celebrated White’s stat line with an impromptu water shower as he began a walk-off interview with NBC Sports Boston.

Here’s the lingering question coming off his loud night: Just how high up does White now rank among the top 100 players in the NBA?

Before you answer that, let’s run through a few pertinent stats:

  • White leads the NBA in net rating at +13.9. Among the 201 players averaging 20+ minutes with at least 40 appearances, White is 2.7 points per 100 possessions better than the next non-Celtics player (Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at +11.2). Even MVP-to-be Nikola Jokic is 3.2 points behind him this season.

  • White leads the NBA in offensive rating with the Celtics scoring 122.8 points per 100 possessions during his 2,041 minutes of floor time. Since February 4, a stretch where the Celtics are 17-2, White’s offensive rating spikes to a league-best 128.9 (tied with Tatum in that stretch).

  • In terms of generic plus/minus, White is +595 this season. He’s second only to Tatum (+600) but has a healthy lead over the MVP candidates immediately behind him in Gilgeous-Alexander (+544), Jokic (+518), and Anthony Edwards (+443).

  • White’s 81 blocks this season are easily the best among any players 6-foot-7 and under. He has 17 more blocks than the next closest player in that category (Alex Caruso, 64). White is now averaging 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He should land on an All-Defense team again after getting a Second Team nod a year ago.

  • White is averaging a career-best 15.2 points per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, 40.3 percent beyond the 3-point arc, and 89.9 percent at the line. His 5.1 assists per game are tops on the team for Boston this season.

  • Not only is White trending towards his best 3-point shooting season of his career, but he is quietly shooting a career-best 74 percent on all shots at the rim, which ranks in the 92nd percentile among all combo guards, per Cleaning the Glass data.

  • There are a million different statistical combos that you can craft -- mostly centered around assists, 3-pointers made and blocks -- that suggest White is doing things that virtually no other player in the league is doing. Our stats guru Dick Lipe noted before Monday’s game that White was the first player in NBA history to pile up 250+ assists, 150+ 3-pointers, 60 blocks, and 60 steals through the first 62 games of the season.

So back to the question: Where should White slot among the league’s top 100 players?

The Ringer does an updating top 100 that slotted White at 56 to start the season but saw him climb as high as 35 in January (the peak of his All-Star candidacy). He’s at No. 40 in The Ringer’s March balloting and sits one spot behind teammate Kristaps Porzingis.

It seems absurd to suggest that one team has four of the top 40 players in the NBA but the results sorta confirm it. The Celtics are on pace to slot among the best teams in NBA history in point differential.

The Bucks are second in the Eastern Conference and will be 10 games back when they visit Boston on Wednesday night. The Celtics are 6.5 games up on the nearest team in the West (Oklahoma City) with eyes towards soon securing homecourt advantage for the duration of their playoff stay.

Looming over all of this is White’s impending contract extension. He is set to earn $19.6 million next season, which is a bargain for his production. The Celtics will be motivated to give him a lucrative extension that will ensure he’s part of the core deeper into the future. The two sides couldn’t get a deal done before the start of the 2023-24 season but also knew there was plenty of time to work on it. White’s play has only increased his price tag and the Celtics should happily pay the ransom.

The February 2022 trade that delivered White here in exchange for Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, a 2022 first-round pick (Blake Wesley), and a 2028 first-round draft pick swap now seems like one of the greatest heists in deadline history.

Heck, that trade might be the only thing more absurd than leaving White off your top 100 list.

The numbers suggest White is definitely a top 50 player. You can make a case that, based on his positive impact, he deserves to be inside the top 40. Factor in his contract and the way he accentuates Boston’s other top 100 players and his overall value is probably top 30 in the league.

The best part is that White doesn’t care about rankings. He simply shows up, does his job, and lets everyone else argue about just how good he is.