Obviously, with a limited sample size, White looked like an offensive juggernaut. Behind 52% field goal shooting (including 7 for 8 in his career debut), White scored 8.9 points an outing. Projected out to starters minutes (36 per game), it would equate to 17.2 points per game. The 6â€²9â€³ 250 pounder looked like the type of scoring big man who could come off the bench to give the Thunder a great boost when the first team caught their breath.
In his sophomore season, that has not been the case. Caught in a logjam at power forward, White has spent far more games in suits than out of his warmup. Through 49 games, White has checked into the game a grand total of eight times. There are some theories about why he has lacked playing time, but none have to do with lack of effectiveness. In those eight games, White has scored a point in every two minutes he plays and has done so on a whopping 68% from the floor.
One of those theories is that White needs to work on his rebounding. Except the numbers suggest that isnâ€™t the case. Project his rebounds to starter minutes and heâ€™d be pulling in 7.5 per gameâ€“which is actually slightly better than the 7.4 Durant grabs per game to lead the team.
Another theory is that he isnâ€™t athletic enough to play defense. That has some more credibility. Serge Ibaka, while statistically inferior, has rocketed past D.J. in the depth chart. On the other hand, Whiteâ€™s Defensive Rating of 108 is not significantly worse than Sergeâ€™s 100, at least not enough that Whiteâ€™s offensive prowess shouldnâ€™t earn him some spot minutes when the team is struggling to get on the scoreboard.
The Thunder will likely not be movers at the deadline, though I’d expect them to make a move of some type before the draft (you can’t have a 28 man roster and they’ve got too many picks). But if they were to make a move, moving for D.J. White and Weaver (injured) might not be a bad plan.
Look, I get that White’s played eight whole games this year, averaging 8.9 minutes. But a 21.4 pp40, with 8.5 REB, and 1.1 Blocks is worth a look. OKC has cap room, a few expirings ($18 mil worth), picks, and White and Weaver are young, talented, with good per minute numbers and upside. The more you think about it, OKC has the ability to acquire pretty much anyone they want. But then, they don’t need to, don’t want to, and don’t have to.
Paupers to princes, so to speak.