Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE
It's popular right now to trash on Royce White and exaggerate the situation but let's step back for a minute and look at this thing rationally, please?
Well, it's old news by now (And it just broke tonight) that Royce White was not in practice after he was assigned to the D-League. Royce was not present for the Miami game either. He's also been inactive for most of the season. The reasons for Royce's inactivity have changed depending on migraines or just general "No room for the kid". We're now left with some vaguely stern wording from Leslie Alexander that implies he would hate to have to give up on Royce. It's worth emphasizing that nothing is imminent in regards to Royce. The early returns on the situation seem to be bemoaning that we even bothered to draft him but I want you to consider a few things before the complaints get out of hand.
First, the Rockets had to roll the dice on Royce White. If you'll notice, every single player the Rockets drafted in 2012 was a high upside player or a guy with crazy measurements that made them too much to resist. Jeremy Lamb the kid shipped out with Kevin Martin that caused a bunch of ballyhoo around here? High upside. Risky pick? Well, if you're looking for a franchise guy out of the draft, yes. Terrence Jones? The guy came with crazy measurements that you had to take a chance on. Royce White? Anxiety aside the kid is built like a tank with freaky court vision. You know what makes this even funnier? He's not terrible in the post either, something people have been clamoring for around here. So, what's the take away here? The Rockets were the definition of mediocre and Royce White offered a pretty high value pick where he was drafted that this franchise needed to gamble on.
Second, Alexander's words aren't a death sentence for Royce. The early going is rough and very troubling. You can't fault Alexander for saying it will be handled internally and he would hate to give up on the pick. They rolled the dice on Royce and still got Terrence Jones. They didn't want three picks from the last draft and if things carry on as they have been, wish granted. Let's dispel one myth before it comes up: Drafting Royce White was a known challenge. The extent of that challenge was the mystery. We're finding the depth of that mystery right now. The impetus is on this franchise to force Royce to be proactive with his anxiety and to mature as a person. Royce needs to meet the Rockets with the same enthusiasm and faith they're putting in him as well.
Lastly, the thing to remember about Royce is that he's a rookie and his contract isn't really damaging us. If need be, you keep him assigned in the D-League and keep an eye on him. He can be assigned for three years and the Rockets can wash their hands of him. Remember last year we all thought Marcus Morris was an absolute dumpster fire and he's proving he might understand basketball after all. The jump to the pros wasn't going to be an easy one for Royce. He needed to go to a disciplined team. He found himself on a rebuilding squad that has never really handled someone with this level of volatility (And that's saying something from a club that handled Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady's questionable finish in the city). Really, folks, who would you have rather had with the pick? Draft Terrence Jones earlier? I was a huge Fab Melo guy but I understood the White pick for this squad.
Go ahead and sound off in the comments below. Be warned, the opinions that immediately call him a waste will probably be ridiculed. Same goes for people who lose sight of the Rockets as a rebuilding team and start talking playoffs this season.