Royce White, in August of 2012 (Getty Images)
The free agents have just about all been signed up. The NBA is down to a series of Instagram photos from moving yachts and crossed fingers from worried teams hoping their players stay safe in the summer off. There’s nothing going on, save for that clock on the wall that is ticking down to the 2013-14 season.
And it’s moving SO SLOWLY.
This is why we’ve decided to pick 26 things we’re looking forward to in 2013-14. Or, at the very least, 26 things that intrigue us as we wait out an offseason that feels like it has thousands of miles left to cross before we can get to Halloween and opening week. Because there are 26 letters in the alphabet – you guessed, NBA A-through-Z.
We continue with (Royce) White.
We haven’t heard much from Royce White, recently. The 2012 Houston Rocket first round pick appeared on a Minnesota radio station earlier this month to discuss the anxiety issues that prevented him from playing a game with the Rockets last season, a separation that hastened a deal that sent him to the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this summer.
Those 76ers have two things going for them, in regards to White. For one, the team is in an obvious rebuilding turn, having sent their best player in Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for a prospect in Nerlens Noel that is coming off of an ACL tear. The team received a probable lottery pick from NOLA in the deal, one they’re more than likely to pair with their own lottery pick after punting most of 2013-14.
Secondly, the team is now run by Sam Hinkie; a man who replaced a series of old school types (Doug Collins, Rod Thorn, Ed Stefanski, Tony DiLeo) on his way toward angering ex-Sixer legends like Charles Barkley with his newfangled ways. These are good things to do.
Hinkie used to work as second-in-command behind Daryl Morey in Houston, which leads most to believe that his interest in White has more to do with Royce the player (Hinkie, after all, was in the war room that drafted White) and less to do with “Royce the contract traded for in an attempt to make the NBA’s minimum salary floor,” which the Sixers are still several million short of. If anxiety issues weren’t a problem, the 76ers would be the perfect team for a unique, point-power forward sort of talent like White to get his reps in with.
We still have no idea how this is going to shake out, though.
The last time BDL discussed White was when we talked about his attempts to explain his fears and issues with flying to a reporter, pointing out that taking "one hundred flights would be like if you're allergic to peanut butter – it'd be like spreading your whole body with it."
Royce responded to BDL’s Twitter account and pointed out that he never said he would be averse to flying to games in 2013-14, but that wasn’t what the Ball Don’t Lie column said. What it did relay was that White wanted no part of the hundreds-plus flights a year it takes to stick with an NBA team during the entire regular season (because the Sixers ain’t makin’ the playoffs), and the headline quoted him as saying that directly.
I can’t tell you if these sorts of barriers are something that can be worked around. Nobody can. Royce White couldn’t even begin to anticipate where things are headed, because anxiety disorder (in its myriad forms) doesn’t play by a strident set of rules. White could become a jet-setter nonpareil during his NBA career, facing down reporters by the dozens and fans by the thousands with ease and full eye contact. Or he could continue with more of what we saw (or didn’t see, really) in 2012-13. The man will have had 16 months between the 2012 NBA and 2013-14 season to figure out just how he’s going to handle this life, but sometimes these things just never figure themselves out.
We just hope the effort is there, from both White and the 76ers. Because, frankly, we want to live in a world where a unique player like Royce White can contribute to a growing NBA team, and a unique person like Royce White can find a way to overcome what bothers him the most, all while observers understand that none of this is anyone’s fault but the too-complicated chemicals and synapses that drag around that big batch of gray matter we have up there.
It’d be really great to see Royce White play a regular season NBA game this year. There are two more months to figure out how to make that happen.
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