Boston Celtics

Joe Mazzulla endorses Derrick White's All-Star campaign

White added to his All-Star case with a stellar performance in Sacramento.

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Boston Celtics guard Derrick White has worked his way into the All-Star conversation with his performance so far this season.

White has taken his game to another level over the last month. He has tied his career-high for points (30) twice in December and nearly did so again with a 28-point outburst in Wednesday's win over the Sacramento Kings. In the 144-119 victory, White shot 10-of-13 from the floor (6-9 3-PT) while adding seven assists and four blocks.

White has averaged 16.5 points, 5.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks through 24 games played this season. The 2022-23 All-Defensive selection has made a notable leap on the offensive end and has arguably been the Celtics' most consistent player on both ends of the floor this year.

So, does White deserve to earn the first NBA All-Star nod of his career? His coach Joe Mazzulla didn't hesitate when he was asked that question after Wednesday's game.

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"He's an All-Star," Mazzulla said. "(He's playing with) freedom, confidence, and empowerment from his teammates. A lot of the times when we want to settle the team down and we want to get to really good execution, we go to Derrick White pick and rolls. ...

"His teammates are empowering him, he's playing with a lot of confidence. And it's one of the reasons why we feel so comfortable with him at the point, is because of what he can do."

As great as White has been, he has a tremendously difficult path to his first All-Star nod. Several talented Eastern Conference guards will be tough for him to edge out, including Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers), Damian Lillard (Milwaukee Bucks), Tyrese Maxey (Philadelphia 76ers), Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks), and Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers).

Our Eddie House used those names on Celtics Postgame Live to explain why White might not make the All-Star roster despite having an All-Star-caliber year.

"I think that he's doing a fantastic job and if it was my vote, I would vote him in there because of what he does and what he means to this team," House said. "But in the totality of everything, when you look at those names that I just mentioned, it's going to be extremely hard for him to be the third guy coming from this team. We know Jaylen (Brown) and Jayson (Tatum) are going to get there. It's going to be extremely hard for him."

Eddie House praises Derrick White and his importance to this year's Celtics team, but breaks down why it will be an uphill battle for the guard to make the All-Star team this season.

Even if it's a long shot, White's All-Star campaign will continue to be a topic of discussion if he continues to shoot the lights out. He's shot 52 percent from the field and 47.3 percent from beyond the arc so far in December.

Despite that, a humble White told our Abby Chin after Wednesday's game he isn't currently focused on the All-Star talk.

"Just trying to win games," he said. "That's all I'm focused on right now. Try to keep winning and we'll see what happens."

Abby Chin catches up with Derrick White in an exclusive 1-on-1 interview following the Celtics' 144-119 win over the Kings.

White will look to stay hot when the Celtics continue their West Coast trip in Los Angeles on Saturday. They'll take on the Clippers at 3:30 p.m. ET with coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. right here on NBC Sports Boston.

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