Welcome to the 2017-18 season player reviews, where we will be rehashing the performance of all 15 Spurs from this season (excluding two-way players Darrun Hilliard and Matt Costello) and looking towards the future. Without further ado, we’re kicking off this series with:
2017-18 stats: 3.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, 48.5% FG, 8.2 min
2017-18 salary: $1.40 million
Contract: 3 years, $7.13 million remaining (2020 & 2021 team options)
Selected 29th overall in the 2017 draft, the rookie guard was expected to spend most of the season in the G-league, and that is exactly what happened as he helped lead the Austin Spurs to a championship while averaging 20.1 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists and showing off his jack-of-all-trades assets.
White’s impressive season in Austin showed that, if nothing else, the minors are below his pay (and maybe even play) grade. He only appeared in 17 NBA games, so it’s tough to say if his performance will translate over, but he didn’t look outmatched when he was on the floor for San Antonio. Some of that can be attributed to mostly playing in garbage time and his age (23) for a rookie, but regardless he still looked like he belonged, and that’s nothing to gloss over.
He showed no fear of pulling up from beyond the arc, be it within the flow of the offense or isolation, a good handle on the ball (although he played off it more), and better-than-advertised defense by using his instincts to overcome his below-average speed for an NBA guard.
Barring a disastrous Summer League and training camp performance, White should have a permanent spot on the Spurs bench instead of in Austin next season. With the future of all Spurs guards besides Dejounte Murray and Patty Mills currently in flux, there could even be room for White in the actual rotation. Like all rookies he has some work to do, but the promise is definitely there.
Naturally he will need to get ready for the quicker speed of the NBA game, but if there was one concerning stat from his time in Austin it was only shooting 33% from three. However, he shot just under 40% in college and, in an extremely small sample size, hit 8-13 threes (61.5%) in the NBA this season.
While that latter number can’t be expected to hold up over time, he should improve from his Austin stats considering he won’t be the focal point for opposing defenses in the NBA, giving him more open chances. He’ll need to take advantage of those open opportunities to stay on the floor, but overall his well-rounded game should fit in well with the Spurs going forward.
March 12 vs. Rockets: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4-5 3PT
Final Grade: Incomplete
(5/14/18: This grade was changed from a “C” to Incomplete after I got my grading system down and decided it was unfair to grade White but give Kawhi Leonard an “Incomplete”. Sorry for the confusion, but I hope this clears things up.)
Up next: Brandon Paul