The Boston Celtics made a couple of moves leading up to yesterday’s trade deadline in a continued effort to turn their season around and surge into the playoffs.
Boston acquired Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, and a first-round pick, and also landed Daniel Theis from the Houston Rockets. These transactions will bolster the team’s chances at contending for a title and continuing their run of form since they made a decisive turnaround in December.
Derrick White is a Boston Celtic
Derrick White is a 6-foot-4, 27-year-old guard from the University of Colorado that is averaging 14.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds. He is playing a career-high in minutes per game (30.3) and started 48 of the Spurs’ 49 games this year.
White’s three-point shooting is down this season, but he is extremely efficient at the free-throw line and does not turn the ball over much. He has career highs of 29 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds, all within the last year.
It took a fairly hefty package for the Celtics to land their new featured guard, but it will only make them better. Richardson and Langford were averaging 24.7 and 16.5 minutes per night, respectively, and their absences will not drastically change the core of the rotation.
White’s positional versatility also means that he will be able to handle ball-handling duties with the second unit, a task formerly charged to Dennis Schroder, who is now on the verge of being bought out and could soon be away from the team. Even better, White gives the Celtics more size as a willing defender at the point of attack, attributes they desperately needed surrounding their star pairing of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Daniel Theis is Home
Daniel Theis is back in Boston, where he spent his first four seasons in the NBA before landing short tenures in Chicago and Houston. The 6-foot-9 big man is selfless and tough and is a great option for a small-ball five.
Theis averaged 9.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 34.7% three-point shooting in 24.5 minutes per night during his final season in Boston in 2020-21. Restoring him to his initial landing spot will not only bring the best out of the player but add familiarity to the Celtics squad.
The German native will likely take the place of Grant Williams in a number of scenarios, especially when other teams deploy tall, physical lineups.
Evaluating the Celtics and Trade Deadline Day
Boston has had the best defensive rating in the NBA since the middle of December, and their new-look lineup should only continue this trend.
White and Theis will both help anchor the defense from the inside and out and are replacing two less-than-stellar defenders.
Additionally, both Langford and Richardson were inconsistent shooters and did not have a go-to move when they were not scoring adequately; White’s ability as a passer and defender will ensure that the Celtics always have contributors on the court, even if his shot is not falling.
Boston’s latest surge has them up to 31-25 and seventh in the East, though they are only two games out of fifth place five games out of first. Their trade deadline day moves will help them drastically as they continue to climb the conference ladder.