NBA All-Star voting opened this week, and Derrick White has to be a strong contender among the Boston Celtics players selected to play in Indianapolis.

Jayson Tatum likely will be voted in as one of the starters, and Jaylen Brown has a strong chance to earn his third All-Star selection. Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis have been important pieces for the Celtics, but no one has been more vital than White.

The 29-year-old has surpassed his career averages in points, assists, rebounds and 3-point percentage through 24 games, and three games he missed this season probably were the most notable as Boston went 1-2 in those matchups.

White’s versatility as a creator and as a lockdown defender proved Brad Stevens right when the president of basketball operations traded Marcus Smart as part of a three-team deal to acquire Porzingis; the success of Stevens’ moves in the offseason also should make him the favorite for Executive of the Year. While the veteran big man has been key toward Boston’s ability to play Joe Mazzulla’s style, White also made a big impact on the system, too.

Story continues below advertisement

“You could say that,” White told reporters Wednesday when asked if this is the most comfortable point in his career, per The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “I’m more and more comfortable, more confident, just going out there and competing and having fun with it.”

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

White and Holiday make up the best defensive backcourt in the NBA, and their ability to switch and handle elite ballhandlers helped Boston become one of the best defensive teams in the league, which was something that was lost last season from its NBA Finals run.

An All-Star selection and a career-best season would help White on the negotiation table and make it certain Boston should do whatever it takes to retain him.

Story continues below advertisement

White’s ability as a playmaker also helps lessen the burden on Tatum and Brown, and he’s at times been the key cog in helping start a run on offense.

Celtics fans showered White with praise throughout the season, even giving him “MVP” chants, and Mazzulla believes he’s deserving of an All-Star nod.

“I mean, he’s my coach, that’s what he’s supposed to say, right?” White said, per MassLive’s Souichi Terada. “I’m just trying to win games. That’s what I’m focusing on right now. Just do whatever I can to help us win.”

White might not be an All-Star starter, but his status as an underrated player and someone all coaches would want to have could help him earn votes as a reserve. The Eastern Conference is stacked with high-end backcourt players, but none are more valuable to their respective team than White is to the Celtics.

Story continues below advertisement

Featured image via Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY Sports Images