When it comes to matching up defensively with the Boston Celtics, it’s truly a pick-your-poison type of situation.

There’s the obvious one-two punch of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who’ve combined to average over 49 points per game this season. Then there’s the roster-polishing newcomers in Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday. That’s four veteran All-Stars making up one of the NBA’s most lethal lineups. But they alone aren’t responsible for the Eastern Conference-best 15-5 start from the Celtics thus far.

Left underrated in Boston’s elite starting bunch is the man of efficiency — on both ends of the floor — in Derrick White.

“I think usually, somebody that’s guarding me is one of the better defenders and then they put not the best defender on D. White, which I’m kind of like, ‘That’s a little bit of disrespect to D. White,’ cause he can go, he can play, he’s been playing well,” Holiday told reporters at Friday’s Celtics shootaround, per CLNS Media video. “He gets downhill, he gets to the free-throw line, he can shoot the three. I understand it. This game is about mismatches and getting advantages.”

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Sure, Tatum and Brown can’t be given any sort of leeway, nor would it be wise to hand over any advantage to Porzingis or Holiday, but White’s also in that boat. He’s averaging 14.5 points per game while leading Boston in the assists category (5.3) and shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc — second to team leader Sam Hauser (45.2%).

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White has constantly proven capable of making the correct and unselfish play, that at times, goes underappreciated.

On the other end, White’s been no slouch either. Coming off the best defensive year of his career last season, the 2023 NBA All-Defensive Second Team guard is back to giving opponents issues at the rim. White’s averaged 0.8 blocks a night, ranking third among all point guards in the NBA.

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Regardless of how opposing teams choose to perceive White when meeting the Celtics on the floor, there’s reassurance that both White’s teammates and head coach Joe Mazzulla know what he’s capable of.

And considering White has quickly established a dominant backcourt alongside Holiday, that trust will remain in place for the long run this season in Boston.

Featured image via Jeremy Reper/USA TODAY Sports Images