Chris Forsberg

Does Derrick White deserve All-Star consideration for Celtics?

The Celtics guard is putting up some eye-opening numbers.

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The premise of this article was to emphasize just how good Derrick White has been for the Boston Celtics to start the 2023-24 season. But that's too obvious. So we were going to hit you with a hot take: Derrick White deserves to be an All-Star and here’s why. 

On the surface, that isn’t a very toasty take. There’s a case that, beyond only Jayson Tatum, White has been the second-most impactful player on the Celtics’ roster. His stat line doesn’t necessarily pop the way it does for some of his other teammates, but White is a big reason why those players are thriving, too. 

The trouble comes when you start doing the math on how many players Boston might actually get to Indianapolis in February. More on that later. For now, here are four numbers that would top our pitch for White’s All-Star case (all ranks are entering Wednesday’s action).


That is White’s team-leading net rating, with Boston outscoring opponents by 13.5 points per 100 possessions when he's on the court.

What’s maybe more notable is that Boston’s net rating drops to a team-worst +1.3 in the 446 minutes with White off the court this season. Those are the sort of on/off numbers that MVP candidates like Tatum typically puts up.

If you zoom in on the 98 players in the NBA averaging 30+ minutes per game, White ranks No. 1 in net rating. Here are the four players directly behind him: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic.

That’s four rungs on a very realistic MVP ladder. Maybe our hot take should have been that Derrick White deserves MVP consideration. (Hey, fans were chanting it at TD Garden recently.)

Continuing a career-long trend, White simply makes his team better when he’s on the court. The Celtics have outscored opponents by 178 total points in White’s 19 games this year. And he doesn’t even have to dominate the ball to be great. 

Out of the 225 players who log more than 20 minutes per night, White ranks 137th in usage rate. 


That is White’s true shooting percentage this season.

White is posting career marks in both field goal (48.2) and 3-point percentage (42.5). If we zoom in again on that same group of players averaging 30+ minutes per game, White is tied for third in the NBA in true shooting percentage. The only players in front of him: Tyrese Haliburton and Steph Curry. That’s decent company.

White has very quietly turned into a knockdown shooter. Outside of only maybe Sam Hauser, you feel confident that every shot he puts up is going in the basket. White isn’t hesitating with catch-and-shoot opportunities and that only makes Boston that much more dangerous when he’s shooting north of 40 percent on those attempts. 


That is White’s average of stocks (steals + blocks per game). It's the second-best mark on the team behind only Kristaps Porzingis (2.4 stocks per game).

White ranks 34th overall in the NBA but would be top five among all guards in total stocks if he hadn't missed three games earlier this season.

It was White’s father, Richard, who dubbed Boston’s defensive-minded backcourt as the “Stock Exchange.” But it might be time to just make it a team nickname. Boston’s top six players -- Tatum, Brown, White, Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, and Al Horford -- all reside in the top 100 for stocks this season.

The Boston Stock Exchange is bustling (or bussin’, as the kids say).

Abby Chin sits down with Derrick White in an exclusive 1-on-1 interview to discuss his dad's attempts to get the 'stock exchange' nickname going, as well as his increasing popularity on social media.


That is the amount of assist points created per game by White. It’s second-best on the Celtics behind only Holiday (14.4). White actually leads the team in assists and averages 7.7 potential assists per game (only Holiday and Tatum generate more). 

As good as he’s been as a shooter, White is more than capable of running the offense. He does need to tighten up his turnover rate a bit, but that’s nitpicking with a larger role.

Head coach Joe Mazzulla confidently declared that White would be Boston’s starting point guard over the summer but then Boston traded for Holiday. The team remains committed to letting White play quarterback at times, in part because he always seems to make the right play.

Now back to that whole All-Star proclamation. All-Star voting opens next week and the Celtics are so good they might struggle to get multiple players to Indy. 

If that sounds oxymoronic, it’s because it is. The Eastern Conference is chock full of individual talent, and even with the best record in basketball, the Celtics run the risk of splitting the vote for a potential second (or third?) star.

We know Tatum can confidently make his February travel plans. Fan voting should get him to Indy. But should he book a companion fare? That’s where things get tough. 

Ultimately, the Celtics might be at the mercy of how East coaches (or the assistants that end up with their ballots) vote for the East’s seven reserves. Will the coaches give the nod to two-time All-Star Jaylen Brown? Will they acknowledge the impact that Porzingis since his arrival in Boston? Might they go outside the box and vote for White while acknowledging that his value goes beyond the nightly box score?

The fear for Boston would be splitting that vote and watching a player from a less successful team sneak into the February exhibition only because that team didn’t have other options to consider.

There are at least 10 players in the East who feel like slam dunks to us, whether based on performance or reputation. That list would include Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard; Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey; Indiana’s Haliburton; New York’s Jalen Brunson; Miami’s Jimmy Butler; Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, and Atlanta’s Trae Young. The soaring Magic absolutely need a representative, so Paolo Banchero gets our nod as well. 

That’s pretty much a full roster, and there are six teams in the East that don't even get a player invite. You might protest that Brown, Porzingis AND Brown all deserve a spot more than some of those players on the list -- especially those from teams lingering in play-in range -- but fan voting could go a long way towards complicating matters, too, with a propensity to reward familiar names regardless of their overall merits.

The good news is that we have more than a month to debate this topic. Health — along with team performance — could go a long way towards dictating just how coaches might eventually vote.

Maybe Brown dominates the next two weeks and makes it easier to pick Boston’s second star. But, if you made us vote right now for someone to join Tatum, we could make an awfully strong case for White.

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