Boston Celtics: How D.J. White Can Help The Celtics
The Boston Celtics have announced the signing of former Charlotte Bobcats forward D.J. White to a 10-day contract after he received his letter of release from China.
White, who has not played in the NBA this season, had been playing for the Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association. While the Chinese league bears no comparison to the NBA, he still posted impressive averages of 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. In his four-year NBA career prior to heading overseas, White posted respectable numbers, with career averages of 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in just more than 16 minutes per game.
With the amount of injuries the Celtics have sustained this season, they were in need of depth on the roster, especially in the frontcourt. After signing guard Terrance Williams and trading for former Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford, general manager Danny Ainge searched for the best available big man. White, who is just 26 years old, has NBA experience, a necessary skill set and the ability to play both power forward and center.
The Celtics will be expecting White to contribute for the rest of the season and he definitely has the ability to do so. Let’s take a look at just what White brings to the table for the Celtics and what we can expect to see from him for the rest of the season.
Kevin Garnett and the Celtics need depth in the front court. D.J. White should provide some relief.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com
Offensively, White can help the Celtics in a number of ways. He is a reliable mid-range shooter and will spread the defense much like starting forward Brandon Bass does for the team currently. He most recently played with the Bobcats in 2011-12 and the majority of his shots were between 16 feet and 3-point range, where he converted at a respectable .449 clip. He is capable of knocking down his jump shot with consistency and if the defense starts to close out too hard, he can also put the ball on the floor and get to the basket.
White is a strong finisher inside, converting more than 70 percent of his attempts at the rim during his last NBA season. Outside of All-Star Kevin Garnett, the Celtics lack any real inside presence; White’s ability inside will be a welcome addition.
During the 2011-12 season, White managed to score in double digits on 15 occasions in his 58 appearances. He has shown that when given regular shot attempts, he is able to consistently put the ball in the hoop and is a reliable contributor to the offense.
He does not contribute much in the way of offensive rebounding, averaging less than a single offensive rebound over the course of his NBA career. This could be partially attributed to his jump-shooting ability, which would often draw him away from the basket; regardless, it should not be an issue for Boston which, under coach Doc Rivers, has rarely focused on offensive rebounding.
White is far more accomplished on the defensive glass and should again be able to contribute in an area of weakness for the Celtics. His career defensive rebound percentage of 18.2 is the third-best among current Celtics players, behind only Paul Pierce and Garnett.
Other than mopping up missed shots, on the defensive end of the floor White struggles. He is not a rim protector or intimidator, averaging less than 0.5 blocks per game for his career. His career defensive rating (109), defensive win shares score (1.3) and opposition points per possession score (0.91) are all well below average, although those numbers may be slightly skewed having played on some terrible Charlotte teams for the majority of his career.
If White can learn the Celtics defensive schemes and realizes that putting in work on that end of the floor is the quickest way into Rivers’ rotation, we could see a vast improvement in his defensive numbers during his Celtics tenure. He has a solid 6’9”, 250-pound frame with long arms and the physical ability to at least be an adequate defender on this Boston team.
The Celtics lack depth in the front court. Behind starters Garnett and Bass there is only veteran Chris Wilcox in the rotation with true big man size. With White’s ability to knock down the open jumper, finish in the paint and clean up on the defensive glass he could quickly earn himself minutes in the Celtic’s rotation. He is a proven contributor at the NBA level and Danny Ainge has seemingly picked up a no risk, solid front court addition to help the team down the stretch.
Still just 26 years old and after spending a season away from the NBA in China, White will be working hard to impress the Celtics and other teams around the league in hope of sticking in the NBA long term. This could prove to be a valuable, under-the-radar signing for the Celtics if White is able to contribute for the rest of the season.
26 year old Australian sports writer. Currently completing a Diploma of Sports Journalism, covering the NBA and starting a freelance writing career. Will cover everything Boston Celtics but dip into the rest of the league too. October-June the NBA runs my life, watching it, writing about it, playing fantasy, 2K etc.. drive the wifey nuts.
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