Spurs guard Derrick White says he has an opportunity to play larger role

2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Earlier this summer, the San Antonio Spurs lost a few important players from last season's squad.

Longtime point guard Tony Parker left the team in free agency to sign with the Charlotte Hornets and presumably back up Kemba Walker.

Restricted free agent Kyle Anderson signed a multi-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Spurs decided not to match the deal.

Then, superstar Kawhi Leonard and veteran shooting guard Danny Green were sent packing to the Toronto Raptors in the shocking trade of the offseason.

It’s worth noting that the Spurs received All-Star DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl in the Raptors trade, re-signed Rudy Gay and Davis Bertens, signed former Spur Marco Belinelli in free agency as well as veteran Dante Cunningham and drafted Lonnie Walker IV. Despite the fact that San Antonio’s roster is still filled with a lot of talent (LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Dejounte Murray are returning), there’s definitely more turnover than usual.

With Parker, Anderson, Green and Leonard gone, DeRozan is the only newcomer that’s guaranteed starter’s minutes. Therefore, a major opportunity most likely exists for whoever impresses Gregg Popovich the most, especially in the backcourt.

Derrick White, who was drafted 29th overall by the Spurs in 2017, believes that he’s going to make a huge impact this season despite averaging 3.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 8.2 minutes over 17 games for the Spurs last season.

A potential opportunity

"It's nice to know that they have faith in me, that they are confident in me," White said Wednesday, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. "It's tough to see all those guys go. They did so much for the organization. But I've got to make the most of my opportunities. That's been my focus all summer long, trying to get better and better."

2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Despite the fact that he played a limited role at the end of San Antonio’s bench last season, he had a lot of success at the G-League level, where he averaged 20.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 24 games for the Austin Spurs.

"I'm super excited for the season to start," White said. "We've got a bunch of good guys in the locker room. Once we all get in together and start working for a common goal, I think we can do something special. … Whatever the coaching staff asks me to do, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability.”

Although Popovich tends to utilize a deep bench and has a number of trusted veterans at his disposal, White seems to think he has an opportunity to earn playing time. Only time will tell if he’s right or not.

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