Why Derrick White is the perfect Kawhi Leonard replacement for Team USA

    Boston Celtics guard Derrick White has been named as the replacement for Kawhi Leonard on Team USA’s roster for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. USA Basketball confirmed White’s inclusion Wednesday following Leonard’s withdrawal due to health concerns.

    White’s addition bolsters the Celtics’ representation on the national team, as he will be joining teammates Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday in the City of Light. Known for his defensive prowess and versatile skill set, White brings a valuable dimension to the squad’s star-studded lineup.

    Despite not earning All-Star honors this past February, White’s contributions during the 2023-24 NBA season played a pivotal role in the Celtics’ 64-win campaign. Averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steal per game, he put up a statistical line only matched by Larry Bird in Celtics history.

    White further showcased his ability to thrive under pressure during the 2024 NBA Finals, where he averaged 13.8 points while shooting 39.5% from three-point range, with three games featuring four successful three-pointers. Additionally, he contributed on the defensive end against the Dallas Mavericks with averages of 1.2 steals and one block per game.

    White’s international experience further bolsters his candidacy, having represented Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Known for his ego-free playing style and commitment to teamwork, White’s addition reinforces Team USA’s defensive strategy and depth as they prepare to face global competition.

    As Team USA readies for the Paris Olympics, White’s anticipated role as a versatile “glue guy” and proficient three-and-D guard – filling Leonard’s shoes – positions him ideally to bolster the team’s quest for Olympic gold.

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