Derrick White

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs, Terry, Grizzlies

People around the NBA believe there’s a good chance the Pelicans will move the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft in a deal that would bring back veteran help, says Zach Harper of The Athletic.

New Orleans already has a young roster and is expected to shop veterans like Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams this offseason in order to create more cap flexibility. Moving Bledsoe and/or Adams would make the roster even younger, perhaps making the Pelicans even less inclined to add another rookie to the mix.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Within his latest mock draft, Harper also says there’s a belief the Rockets have been “fixated” on Cade Cunningham, but are likely unwilling to pay Detroit what it would take to move up to No. 1. Additionally, sources tell Harper that people around the league believe Spurs guards Dejounte Murray and Derrick White could be “gettable” in trades.
  • Mavericks guard Tyrell Terry was away from the team for nearly two months during his rookie season for personal reasons. Asked this week about that situation, Terry declined to offer any details, as Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News writes. “I had something to deal with personally that I needed to take care of in order for me to come back and be the best version of myself,” Terry said. “The Mavericks were very helpful and supportive in that time.”
  • The Grizzlies could have between $20-25MM in cap room this offseason. With that in mind, Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal considers which veteran free agents might make sense as targets for the team.

And-Ones: Jrue, Vegas, Pangos, Payton, Big Markets

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy, having been named the winner of the 2020/21 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the league announced today in a press release.

The award, which aims to honor the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” is voted on by current NBA players. Each team nominates one of its players, a panel of league executives pares the list down to six finalists (one from each division), and the players vote on those six finalists.

Holiday, who earned 130 of 343 first-place votes, beat out runner-up Kemba Walker (74 first-place votes) for the award. Bam Adebayo, Harrison Barnes, Derrick White, and Josh Okogie were the other finalists.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • While it’s unclear when the NBA might seriously pursue expansion, Las Vegas has frequently been cited as a city the league would consider, and a Yahoo News report suggests one potential ownership group may be in place in Vegas. As Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays, billionaire Jay Bloom heads a series of investors who reportedly have the funds and the connections necessary to be the frontrunners to own a Vegas NBA franchise if the opportunity arises.
  • Kevin Pangos, one of the top point guards in the EuroLeague, is drawing plenty of interest from European teams but may wait until NBA free agency to make a decision, says Aris Barkas of Eurohoops. There’s no indication that Pangos has an NBA offer awaiting him, but the former Gonzaga standout wants to consider all his options before making a decision.
  • Hall-of-Fame guard Gary Payton, who has spoken in the past about wanting to coach in the NBA, tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he has agreed to a multiyear contract to coach Lincoln University in his hometown of Oakland, California.
  • In the wake of teams like the Celtics, the Knicks, and especially the Lakers being eliminated from the postseason, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic explores just how dependent the NBA is on its marquee, big-market franchises, and what the league can do to reduce that dependence.

Texas Notes: Wall, Thomas, White, Green, Carlisle

With John Wall‘s first season with the Rockets over, Kelly Iko and John Hollinger of The Athletic examined the initial impressions the veteran guard made in Houston, considering whether or not he fits into the team’s future long-term.

Wall was a perennial All-Star with the Wizards early in his career, but a series of injuries cost him significant portions of the past three seasons. As Iko and Hollinger write, Wall has to be commended for the mere fact that he returned to the court and played significant minutes, showing glimpses of his past explosiveness.

However, both scribes also noted that despite those glimpses, Wall appeared to be a fraction of the player he used to be, raising questions about his ability to even remain a starting point guard for the rest of his career. The hefty sum remaining on his contract will make it difficult to trade and therefore, it remains to be seen how the Rockets, or any team, would deploy him moving forward.

Check more news out of the NBA’s Texas squads:

  • Newly-signed Rockets forward Khyri Thomas contributed 16 points in his first game and expressed gratitude for the opportunity, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26. “I’m never gonna take this opportunity for granted, whether it’s 10-day or a whole year,” he said. “I’m not trying to go out and be Michael Jordan. Just trying to fit in.”
  • Having established himself as a long-term keeper for the Spurs, Derrick White is now working on being a more vocal leader, as Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com writes. “The front office and (head coach Gregg Popovich) have been on me (about) trying to be more of a leader,” White said. “It’s something that I’m continuing to develop in. The more confidence you have, the more you’re doing the right things, the more you can hold other people accountable. So it’s a constant thing that I’m developing, and hopefully I just keep getting better and better at it.”
  • The Spurs could conceivably make the play-in tournament without doing much winning as the regular season winds down. However, the team is looking to achieve more than just sneaking into the new postseason format, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News writes.
  • Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is taking a nuanced view toward the play-in tournament, which Dallas could find itself participating in without a strong finish to the season. Carlisle said the goal should be to avoid the tournament altogether, but if it’s an option, it should be “embraced” and could be a valuable experience to a young team, tweets Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.
  • As the Mavericks have shown a willingness to be shifty and open-minded with their lineups, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News wonders if it’s time to give rookie Josh Green more playing time.

Derrick White Likely Out For Rest Of Season

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t expect guard Derrick White to play again this season, tweets Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News.

White sprained his right ankle Monday when he landed on Jakob Poeltl‘s foot after trying to block a shot. He left the game a few minutes into the third quarter and didn’t return.

White is an important part of San Antonio’s attack, averaging 15.4 points and 3.5 assists in 36 games. He has missed 24 games already because of toe surgery he had during the offseason, another foot injury, and COVID-19.

Devin Vassell will replace White in the starting lineup, said Popovich, who wants to avoid changing his bench rotation (Twitter link).

The Spurs are locked in a tight battle to try to avoid the play-in process in the West. They are currently in ninth place at 31-29, two-and-a-half games out of sixth place.

Southwest Notes: White, Mavericks, DeRozan, Pelicans

Spurs guard Derrick White is currently enjoying the best month of his young NBA career, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News opines.

White, 26, is in his fourth season with San Antonio. As McDonald notes, he averaged 18.5 points per game in his 13 April contests heading into Saturday’s outing against New Orleans, which he finished with 22 points and five rebounds in 37 minutes of work.

“I just want to keep working and looking at what I can improve on,” White said, “but we are getting there.”

White has played a major role in the Spurs’ season, helping the team achieve a 30-29 record through 59 games. He’s averaging a career-high 15.5 points, three rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division tonight:

  • The Mavericks have plenty of reasons to expect a top-six finish in the Western Conference, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. Dallas currently owns the sixth-best record in the West at 33-26, taking its two most recent games against the Lakers (albeit without LeBron James) at home. The team trails the Lakers by 1.5 games for the No. 5 seed and leads the Blazers by one game for No. 6.
  • DeMar DeRozan‘s clutch play on Saturday helped the Spurs move closer to a spot in the NBA playoffs, McDonald writes in a separate story for the San Antonio Express-News. DeRozan recorded 32 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, shooting 10-of-21 from the floor.
  • For the Pelicans, even the team’s strengths have turned into weaknesses in key moments of a disappointing season, Christian Clark of NOLA.com writes. “We had hands on the ball, too,” coach Stan Van Gundy said after the loss to San Antonio. “It was disappointing because rebounding has been the one thing we’ve been able to count on all year and should be able to count on. Tonight, not so much.”

Southwest Notes: Hayes, Vaccine, Gay, Mavericks, Wood

Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes has regained his rotation spot and he’s determined to hold onto it, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. In his past five games, Hayes is averaging 11.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 17.5 MPG. The 2019 lottery pick, who had his third-year rookie-scale option picked up by New Orleans in December, has displaced Willy Hernangomez as the second-unit backup center.

The main thing I took away was I never want to be in that position again,” Hayes said of his February benching. “It’s not like it was a bad thing. I just always want to be on the court.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Eligible members of the Pelicans organization received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. A majority of the players who were eligible received the shot did so, including Sindarius Thornwell, Lopez tweets. Italian Nicolo Melli also received the vaccine, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.
  • The Spurs had four games prior to the All-Star break postponed due to coronavirus issues. Two of the affected players, Rudy Gay and Derrick White, expressed their gratitude to the team’s training and medical staffs for the high quality of care to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News“They’re just great people, the most helpful people I’ve been around, and they care about us,” Gay said.
  • While the Mavericks plan to give stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis periodic nights off, don’t expect coach Rick Carlisle to give the team’s four rookies extended playing time, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes.
  • Rockets big man Christian Wood is hopeful of returning to action on Tuesday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Wood has been sidelined since February 4 due to an ankle injury. He’s listed by the team as doubtful.

USA Basketball Expands Finalist List for Olympic Roster

Fifteen players have been added to the list of finalists for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. The group will eventually be pared down to 12 players who will participate in the Olympic Games, which are set for July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will serve as coach for the U.S. team, with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Villanova coach Jay Wright and former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce as his assistants.

No tryouts will be held this year. Instead, USA Basketball will choose the final roster by early summer. Training camp is scheduled to being in early July before the conclusion of the NBA playoffs.

“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible,” USA Basketball men’s national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that. Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”

The new names under consideration are:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers)
  2. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  3. Jerami Grant (Pistons)
  4. Blake Griffin (Nets)
  5. Jrue Holiday (Bucks)
  6. DeAndre Jordan (Nets)
  7. Zach LaVine (Bulls)
  8. Julius Randle (Knicks)
  9. Duncan Robinson (Heat)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Fred VanVleet (Raptors)
  12. John Wall (Rockets)
  13. Zion Williamson (Pelicans)
  14. Christian Wood (Rockets)
  15. Trae Young (Hawks)

Forty-two players remain from the original list, which was announced in February 2020:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Nets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Lakers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Hornets)
  22. Dwight Howard (Sixers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Cavaliers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Rockets)
  36. Chris Paul (Suns)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Pistons)
  38. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  39. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  40. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  41. Russell Westbrook (Wizards)
  42. Derrick White (Spurs)

Two players removed from that list are Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and Celtics guard Marcus Smart. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Smart turned down an invitation because of injury concerns due to having a short offseason and playing late into consecutive seasons (Twitter link).

Spurs Have Five Players Under Protocols; DeRozan Also Out Wednesday

The NBA postponed the last four Spurs games due to coronavirus positives and contact tracing. There’s now more clarity on which players are in the league’s health and safety protocols, as well as hope that their next scheduled game against the Thunder on Wednesday will be played.

The Spurs announced on Monday that Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Derrick White remain under the league’s protocols and are not with the team. That group will not travel to Oklahoma City. Additionally, DeMar DeRozan will miss the game due to personal reasons.

However, LaMarcus Aldridge has been upgraded to active, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links). He hasn’t played since February 1st due to a hip injury.

As previously reported, the Spurs on Monday recalled guard Tre Jones and forward Luka Samanic from the Austin Spurs. That would give the team 10 available players, two more than the minimum required to play.

San Antonio practiced on Monday, Orsborn added.

Weatherspoon was the only San Antonio player prior to Monday to be named publicly as being under the league’s health and safety protocols. The games postponed were all on the road — Detroit, Cleveland, New York and Indiana — which means the Spurs will have a busy schedule in the second half of the season. They also have to make up a January 25th postponement, a road game against New Orleans.

Spurs Notes: Poeltl, Weatherspoon, White, Murray, Vassell

Center Jakob Poeltl has been one of the league’s best shot blockers since moving into the Spurs‘ starting lineup five games ago, writes Tom Orsborne of The San Antonio Express-News. Poeltl is averaging 2.8 blocks per game, third in the NBA during that stretch, while filling in for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is dealing with a hip flexor.

“He’s very solid,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He knows where to be on the court. He works really hard on the boards, protecting the rim, he runs the floor. He’s just done an excellent job, and mostly been very consistent.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Reserve guard Quinndary Weatherspoon has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, Orsborn adds in a separate story. It’s not clear if Weatherspoon has tested positive for COVID-19 or is merely inactive due to contact tracing, so his quarantine time is uncertain. Drew Eubanks is the only other Spurs player to have gone through the protocols, although assistant coach Becky Hammon and an unidentified staffer were required to quarantine last month.
  • The Spurs’ backcourt of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray has become one of the best defensive pairings in the league, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News. Popovich has experimented with the roles for his young guards and hasn’t always started them together. White was a starter in only 20 of 68 games last season and didn’t start alongside Murray until the season resumed in Orlando. “They are great on defense together,” Poeltl said. “I think we are very, very versatile when we have both those guys out there on defense. It’s really helping us.”
  • First-round pick Devin Vassell has already played more minutes than any Spurs rookie since Kawhi Leonard nine years ago, McDonald notes in a separate story. Vassell is leading the team in steals at 1.1 per game and is shooting 40.3% from 3-point range. “One thing about him, he has instincts,” Rudy Gay said. “He showed that from Day 1. You can go out there in any situation, and he’ll find a way to make it happen.”

Texas Notes: White, Kleber, Rockets, Mavericks Arena

After Spurs guard Derrick White returned on January 30 from his second major toe injury since August, he quickly returned to the impressive level he had been displaying during last summer’s restart in Orlando, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

The Spurs have been the beneficiaries of White’s improvement. The club is 3-2 since White’s return, as of this writing, and has won three games in a row. At 14-10, San Antonio is the No. 5 seed in a crowded Western Conference field.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Despite having recovered from a bout with COVID-19, Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber continues to adjust to life on an NBA court, according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “I still feel slow,” Kleber said.
  • The Rockets will be using a strict load management-style maintenance plan for their three core guards for the indefinite future, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Houston’s starting back court tandem of John Wall and Victor Oladipo, plus sixth man Eric Gordon, will all sit for at least one game in the team’s upcoming back-to-back sets. “It’s something we’ve talked about the last three weeks or so, four weeks maybe,” head coach Stephen Silas said of the plan. “With John and Vic being primary ballhandlers, that makes it a little harder. Now, you add Eric to the mix [of players sitting], it makes it really hard.”
  • The Mavericks brought 1,500 first responder fans back into their home arena, the American Airlines Center, for the first time this season during a 127-122 victory over the Timberwolves yesterday, according to Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “The atmosphere was obviously better,” Dallas wing Tim Hardaway Jr. said. The fans were socially distanced within the 19,200-capacity arena.