Joe Mazzulla helps Derrick White’s All-Star candidacy amid breakout season


“His teammates are empowering him, he is taking part in with a whole lot of confidence.”

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) drives past Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023.
Derrick White has performed a key position in Boston’s 21-6 begin this season. (AP Picture/Randall Benton)

The 2023-24 Celtics haven’t any scarcity of star energy on their roster.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have established themselves as two of the premier gamers within the NBA, with the duo each incomes All-NBA honors in 2022-23.

Jrue Vacation earned his second All-Star nod final season. Kristaps Porzingis was an All-Star in 2018, with the 7-foot-2 ahead/heart serving as a difference-maker on each ends of the court docket in his first season with Boston.

However may the fifth participant in Boston’s beginning rotation earn All-Star recognition this season?

After the Celtics simply bested the Kings, 144-119, on Wednesday evening, Joe Mazzulla vouched for Derrick White and his rising inventory as one of the vital of impactful guards within the league.

“He’s an All-Star,” Mazzulla mentioned, per video offered by CLNS Media. “(He’s taking part in with) freedom, confidence, and empowerment from his teammates. Lots of the occasions once we need to settle the group down and we need to get to actually good execution, we go to Derrick White choose and rolls.

“His teammates are empowering him, he’s taking part in with a whole lot of confidence,” Mazzulla added. “And it’s one of many the reason why we really feel so snug with him on the level, is due to what he can do.”

White might not be the flashiest participant on the court docket most nights, particularly on a group with superstars commanding the highlight like Tatum. However the 29-year-old guard’s well-rounded skillset has performed an instrumental position in Boston’s 21-6 document.

Since getting snubbed from ESPN’s High 100 rankings earlier than the beginning of the 2023-24 season, White has put collectively the very best season of his profession. 

After taking the reins of Boston’s beginning point-guard place following the offseason commerce of Marcus Good, White is averaging 16.5 factors, 5.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per sport by his first 24 appearances this yr.

A 2022-23 All-Defensive choice, White has made strides as a sharpshooting risk for Boston this season.

He’s already tied his career-high for factors in a single sport (30) twice this month, and added 28 factors (together with a 6-of-9 exhibiting from the 3-point line) within the Celtics’ highway win in Sacramento on Wednesday.

After all, White’s path to an All-Star nomination can be an uphill climb. Past the truth that his baseline stats might not leap off the web page, he’ll additionally must leapfrog different guards within the East corresponding to Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Younger, Jalen Brunson, and Tyrese Haliburton.

Talking postgame on Wednesday, White downplayed his personal particular person efficiency in Boston’s spectacular win.

“I imply he’s my coach, that’s what he’s imagined to say, proper?” White mentioned of Mazzulla’s feedback, as famous by MassLive’s Souichi Terada. “I’m simply attempting to win video games. That’s what I’m specializing in proper now. Simply do no matter I can to assist us win.”