With only a few days to go until the NBA Draft, we’re going to break down a few mock draft selections for the Thunder. We’ve already done six, Semi Ojeleye, Luke Kinnard, Terrance Ferguson, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, OG Anunoby, Jawun Evans, and TJ Leaf.We’re going to break down a couple more. Stay with us as the NBA season ends and the NBA offseason ramps up.
Who: Derrick White
Position: Combo guard
Wt: 200 lbs.
Derrick White, is one of the more unique prospects in the NBA draft on Thursday night. White, was not heavily recruited out of high school, and had no division I offers. He was just about six feet tall when graduating high school, and shot up five inches when he arrived at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, a NCAA division II school. That is where Derrick spent his first three years of college, starting every game for the Mountain Lions. After an excellent junior season, White chose to transfer to the University of Colorado, playing out his last year of eligibility there for the Buffaloes. That is where Derrick began to gain national attention, as his efficient offense and play-making ability led the Buffs to a 19-15 record and a post-season NIT birth. White averaged 18 points along with four assists and four rebounds his senior year.
Probably the biggest strength of White’s game is his outside shooting, and how efficient he is on the offensive side of the ball. Derrick shot 57 percent on two point field goals, and an impressive 40 percent from beyond the three-point line. White also showed some great court vision in his senior year at Colorado. He averaged a little over four assists per game, and has some very solid play-making ability. He is able to create his own shot, and also find the open man showing his strength as a combo guard. White seems to flourish in a pick-and-roll situation, which can bode well for him as the NBA is a pick-and-roll heavy league. Lastly, another of his strength’s is probably his size. He matches up pretty evenly height wise with shooting guards in the league and at 200 pounds, but can maybe bully some smaller point guards by using his six foot and five inches body frame.
White is a pretty solid defender, but athletic guards could cause him trouble. He isn’t the most athletic player in the draft, and that could hinder is ability to defend at an elite level in the league. White could make up for that in his help defense, as he averaged a block and a steal each per game his senior year. Another weakness is his tendency to get tunnel vision when driving to the basket. He has shown the tendency to force shots when driving, even when there is an open man above the arc. This could be fixed with more experience as his career goes on. Finally, some would say maybe his age is a weakness, or a reason not to draft him. White is 22 years old, soon to be, 23. Many General Managers in this league like to draft as young as possible, because that usually means more upside. But with White, you could argue is a late-bloomer and while being a little older, has a lot of growth left in him as a basketball player.
Why Thunder Need Him
Last season, it was apparent the Thunder were totally out of sorts when Westbrook went to the bench. The bench production was inconsistent, and that can be mostly blamed on not having a consistent back-up point guard. White could be that guy, as a 22-year old who is more mature than most of the young 18 and 19-year olds in the draft, he could contribute right away. His play-making ability would be huge, able to get other guys involved and able to create his own shot. Oklahoma City also is in dire need of more outside shooting, and drafting a guy who shot the ball as well and efficient as Derrick does would be a good start. He isn’t the most eye popping candidate, and not necessarily well known by average fans, but he fits that Thunder mold that Sam Presti and company are so well known for when it comes to the NBA draft.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!