Last season, NBA G League alumni guards like Quinn Cook and Fred VanVleet came up in the clutch and rose to the occasion during their teams’ deep playoff runs. With another year comes another opportunity, and it’s Spurs guard Derrick White who decided it was his time to shine on Thursday night.
The 24-year-old exploded onto the scene as his career-high 36-point performance helped San Antonio secure a 2-1 first round series lead against the Nuggets. He also tallied five assists, five rebounds, and three steals in the 118-108 victory. A rather crafty ball-handler, White attacked the lane to get inside, pouring in points at will. Absorbing contact also proved to be no problem, as he continued to cash in on high-percentage looks and sank 5-of-6 shots from the charity stripe. This was a big moment for the youngster and he certainly didn’t shy away from it.
While the bright lights of playoff stardom shined above him, White knew all along that he could perform. After all, he’s stood tall this season as a reigning champion, having led the Austin Spurs to a championship just last season. He averaged 24.8 points through four postseason performances and the success is still fresh in his mind.
"I think (playing in) the G League was huge" #GLeagueAlum Derrick White (@Dwhite921) discusses his basketball development after his career-high 36 PTS with the @spurs in Game 3! #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/yeRFy77p1h
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) April 19, 2019
“The G League last year was huge. Everyone said I didn’t have playoff experience, but I did this in the G League,” he said following his career-night at the next level.
As White expressed, time in the NBA G League can be a huge asset to an up and comer’s development, and that goes far beyond getting more time on the court or attention from coaches in practices. For White, he experienced how to win and perform under pressure, and it’s clear following Thursday night’s performance, he’s learned to carry that with him as he struts his stuff for San Antonio.