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The Celtics paid a premium price to acquire Derrick White from the Spurs at the trade deadline. Boston parted with Josh Richardson, a productive role player, its 2022 first-round pick, which came top-four protected, and most notably, the right for San Antonio to swap selections with the Celtics in 2028; the latter's pick is only top-1 protected.

Former lottery pick Romeo Langford was also a part of the package Boston sent the Spurs, which allowed the Celtics to preserve the $17.1 million trade exception created in the sign-and-trade that sent Evan Fournier to the Knicks. That TPE could come in handy as Boston aims to improve its roster over the summer.

As for why the Celtics felt comfortable paying a price that includes the risk of giving San Antonio the right to swap picks six years from now unless that selection is first overall; In White, they gained a connector, someone indoctrinated in the Spurs' system, which emphasizes making a decision with the ball in .5 or less. It's not easy to find someone who can take a pass from the player initiating the offense and create quality shots for their teammates.

Furthermore, illustrated when the Bucks press the Celtics, especially in Game 2 in Marcus Smart's absence, White can bring the ball up against pressure.

Also, White came to Boston already familiar with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, who he played with on the 2019 USA Men's Basketball World Cup team. And not only did the Spurs' system White developed in play a crucial role in molding Ime Udoka, who played for Gregg Popovich and then joined his coaching staff. But Udoka also coached White his first two seasons in the NBA. Plus, Celtics' assistant coach Will Hardy was with White in San Antonio for four seasons.

And along with White's ability to run the offense, his size and defensive versatility, as a six-foot-four guard with a six-foot-seven-and-a-half wingspan, adds value defensively rather than representing a weakness the opposition can attack. While he wasn't the star of Boston's Game 2 win, the stand in for the Defensive Player of the Year had a hand in holding the Bucks to 86 points in a victory that tied the series.

As coach Udoka said about White in his pregame availability before Tuesday's matchup: "The beauty of having him is he checks a lot of boxes."

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So while his three-point shooting, which the Celtics reasonably hoped would improve, thanks to the open shots he'd get playing alongside Tatum and Brown, just like it benefitted Richardson, White's still contributing in plenty of other ways at both ends.

As coach Udoka put it Friday: "He's not just solely reliant on shooting. He impacts the game in so many other ways, as you saw last game, and all the ways I detailed yesterday, offensively, defensively, initiating offense, getting downhill, all the things that got other guys wide open looks.

"He'll get the looks that he gets, just as they give up to anybody. So with him it's just (to) stay confident."

Udoka went on to say: "We understand what he does for our team; the shots are kind of icing on the cake. We're all confident that he'll break out of that and knock a few down here pretty soon. But staying confident, we're confident in him and understand how he can impact the game more so than just scoring."

Further Reading

One-on-One with Cameron Look on His Improbable Journey to Designing Jayson Tatum's Jordans

Marcus Smart: 'Strong likelihood I'm back for Game 3'

What Stood Out from the Celtics' Win vs. Bucks in Game 2: Boston Gets Back to Winning Formula to Tie Series at 1

The Top 5 Plays from Game 1 Between the Celtics and Bucks

What Stood Out from the Celtics' Loss vs. Bucks in Game 1: Boston 'Caught Off Guard' by Milwaukee's Physicality in Series Opener

Report: Khris Middleton Expected to Miss Entire Second-Round Series vs. Celtics