With the season coming to a close, Peachtree Hoops will be taking a look at each of the wings the Hawks have brought in on 10-day and 2-way contracts, what they’re bringing to the team, and what we can expect from them in the future.
Andrew White is the definition of an American journeyman basketball player. He played at three different colleges across five years during his NCAA career. As an undrafted rookie, he signed a pre-season camp contract with the Boston Celtics in August. Upon not making the NBA roster, the Celtics were able to secure him as a member of their G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. He would play 24 games with Maine prior to agreeing to a two-way contract with the Hawks on January 15.
The Hawks began the season with Josh Magette and Tyler Cavanuagh occupying the two two-way roster spots that are available to teams under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But with the roster of the parent club missing so many frontcourt players to injury during the first half of the season the Hawks would convert Cavanaugh to a regular NBA contract before he ran out of days of eligibility on the two-way contract.
It is natural that White and his representatives would want to wait until after January 10 to explore possible two-way contract opportunities. January 10 is the date on which 10-day contracts can first be agreed. And less than a week later White agreed to join the organization in the two-way roster spot that was still available.
White is almost the mirror opposite of Jaylen Morris, whom I profiled a few days ago. While Morris is a defensive prospect in search of an offensive skill set to prove he can pay in the league, White is a knock down perimeter shooter with the length to offer defensive potential, but he has yet to develop the defensive skill set to earn a real NBA opportunity.
Across his NCAA, G League and NBA play he has been a consistent three-point shooter to an almost uncanny level over the last three years. Let’s take a look.
During his final NCAA season he was just one of ten players to shoot 40% or better from three-point range on 250 attempts or more.
As a professional player he continues to perform as a confident shooter. But he has rarely been asked to do much more than stand on the weakside of the offensive formation to provide spacing or to defend the opposing teams’ player that is basically asked to do the same thing.
Let’s take a look at some video.
The Confident Perimeter Shooter
This is the action in which White is most comfortable and proficient. He sets up as the only player on the weak side of the offensive formation. As Isaiah Taylor and Cavanuagh operate in the pick and roll, he moves just enough and with the right timing to both be a moving target for Terrence Ferguson to track as he attempts to help on Taylor and to offer a constructive passing lane for the Hawks’ point guard.
There is little if any doubt he can fulfill this offensive role at the NBA level.
On this play in semi-transition, White shows confidence knocking down the three-point attempt in the left corner despite a big defender offering a strong close out and shot contest.
On this play White demonstrates confidence hitting a three-point shot while operating in the primary action. He executes in the dribble hand off (DHO) with Cavanaugh and finds the pocket to get the shot up in between the two Oklahoma City defenders.
Getting Chased off of the Three Point Line
When defenders are able to chase White off of the three-point line and make him put the ball on the floor they are able to force him into actions with which he is less comfortable.
On this play he tries to attack the rim but gets out of control and is called for the offensive foul.
He has a some success on this play versus the Sacramento Kings. He is able to draw the foul and get to the free throw line. But it should be note the Kings are the second-worst defense in the league as measured by defensive rating.
White is operating against one of the stronger defensive teams in the league especially in terms of execution of team defense. This Sixers’ unit chases him off of the three-point line and baits him into an open mid-range look.
It’s an obviously small sample size but White is just 1 for 10 on 2 point attempts outside of 10 feet from the basket during his brief play at the NBA level.
On this play he demonstrates that he is a more effective passer when initiating the action as a cutter (off the ball). This is encouraging in that he is operating in the primary action and displays solid decision making on a play where he is not presenting the threat of the three point shot.
Playing on the Defensive End
A lot of White’s on the ball defense looks like this. On this possession defending Vince Carter he struggles to stay attached over the screen and gives up the comfortable floater.
White’s defense is insufficient here although it may not appear to be obviously bad. On this play his first priority is to chase Buddy Hield off of the three-point line and trust the teammates he has behind him. His close out is more measured than it is urgent.
On this play later in the game versus the Kings it seems White has made the necessary adjustment and shows more urgency in chasing Hield off of the three-point line and continues to contest him into a tough mid-range shot.
His defense off of the ball is better as can be seen on this play. When the Thunder threaten the rim White covers the weak side baseline as Dewayne Dedmon helps at the rim. He also shows the urgency to get back out to Corey Brewer, the player that is his primary defensive assignment.
It is encouraging to see him provide solid help defense while also being able to continue tracking and executing on his primary assignment.
A few things to watch from White as the season winds down:
- Can he continue to expand the sample size of knocking down three point shots at or near a 40% clip playing off the ball?
- Can he continue to demonstrate that he is a threat as a shooter in primary offensive actions such as the pick and roll, DHO, and coming off screens?
- Can he demonstrate solid awareness, decision making, and execution as a help defender?
- Can he display any improvement offering resistance defending at the point of attack?