SAN ANTONIO — One would think that ex-Spur Derrick White's transition from San Antonio to Boston wouldn't be that tough to do, considering Celtics' coaches Ime Udoka and Will Hardy have incorporated much of the San Antonio Spurs' system.
And for the most part, that is true, but there was one unique adjustment White had to make in his game that took him a while to adapt.
Udoka says he doesn't mind White and the Boston players being aggressive and committing fouls. He actually encourages it, so long as they are not "dumb" fouls.
And for White, it took him a while to get used to that since that was not encouraged with the Spurs.
"In San Antonio, we had a lot of emphasis on not fouling," White said. "To keep them [opponents] off the line. Obviously, they don't want dumb fouls here [Boston] but I'm just trying to be more physical. Just little things like that."
White isn't averaging more fouls in Boston than he did in San Antonio.
With the Spurs, he averaged 2.2 fouls per game in five seasons. In Boston, he is at 2.2 fouls per game through 17 playoff games ahead of Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals.
Through two games in the Finals against the Warriors, he's committed five personal fouls totals.
However, this freedom allows White to be aggressive on both ends of the court. To not play it safe and risk smart fouling for a bigger payout, either with a timely steal, a defensive charge, or a block.
This approach is also what makes Boston the premier defensive team in the NBA.
"It wasn't a big difference, but just a little adjustment that I had to make," White said.
Aside from the foul adjustment, White has flourished since being traded to the Celtics last regular-season.
Through 26 regular-season games with the Celtics, he averaged 11.0 points per game, 3.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 41-percent shooting. He also exploded for 22 points in Game 1 against Golden State in Game 1 of the Finals.
Following his trade to Boston in February, his seamless fit was paid off for Boston, and his familiarity with the Spurs' system running in Boston also helps.
"A lot of the system is similar and everything. Obviously, with coach Udoka's time in San Antonio," White said.
Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5