Derrick White has brought the San Antonio playoff mindset to Austin.
With just a handful of games left in the regular season, the Spurs are in a good position, leading the G-League Southwest division by two and a half games and the Western Conference by one game. They have the second-best record in the league.
Despite splitting time between San Antonio and Austin, White’s scoring has played a key role in that success.
“I just want to help the team win as many games as we can,” White said. “We’re in a good position. It’s a tight race right now, but trying to help how I can. Every game counts and we’ve got a lot of them coming up.”
His 17.7 points per game average rank second amongst players that have seen the G-League court at least 15 times this season. He’s scored 38 and 21 points in the last two games, both Austin wins.
White and Brandon Paul, who has averaged 12.5 points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists in two appearances for Austin this season, have contributed a lot in a relatively short time.
“Those guys have come in and asserted themselves into our group and done it the right way,” head coach Blake Ahearn said. “They don’t have a ‘me first’ attitude and they don’t come in like they’re better than everybody. That makes us better.”
Darrun Hilliard leads the more regular players with 21.2 points per game while also grabbing 4.8 rebounds and dishing out a team-best 3.8 assists in 32 games this season.
Having scored a season-low seven points in the win against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday night, the coaching staff told him to step up in the next game. He finished with 19 points, two steals and two assists and the Spurs beat the Mad Ants on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought he came out with a good aggressiveness,” Ahearn said. “We challenged him the other night and he responded with a great effort tonight. When we have Darrun and some other guys playing hew ay they are, it’s fun to watch and we’re hard to stop.”
Austin missed the playoffs last season for just the third time since being acquired by the Spurs in 2007. This year’s squad has looked far more determined.
“These guys are here to prove themselves and get better jobs,” Ahearn said. “As long as we do it together in the team environment, that translates into winning games. If we can do both, that’s what we want to do.”
Three of the final seven games are at home, beginning when the Reno Bighorns come tot he HEB Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Austin hosts the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Saturday at 7 p.m. before hitting the road for four games.
“We just want to finish strong and keep improving,“ Hilliard said. “We don’t want to look too far ahead and about seeding and odds because the G-League is about getting better and developing and that’s what we’re trying to do.”