Sheridan Hoops Rookie Rankings: Week Two

If you are Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander or GM Daryl Morey, how much more rope are you giving Royce White?

Apparently, not much more. The Rockets are now fining White for every day he is not with the team or does not attend therapy sessions arranged by the team, according to the Houston Chronicle.

By all accounts, White is an immensely talented 21-year-old rookie power forward. (I don’t watch much college basketball, so I’ve never seen him play.) He also has an anxiety disorder that often manifests itself in a fear of flying, which makes it kind of hard to be an NBA player.

White missed training camp and the early portion of preseason while he and the Rockets developed a two-pronged plan of travel and treatment, arranging for him to be driven to games whenever feasible and scheduling therapy sessions with Dr. Aaron Fink of the Baylor College of Medicine.

But White has been blowing off those sessions. He also has been blowing off games and practices since Sunday. He also has used a press release and his Twitter account to blast the Rockets, saying the team used his condition against him to deny him the ability to earn playing time, leading to a D-League assignment he has ignored.

Right, Royce. That’s exactly what Alexander and Morey want to do. They want to invest a minimum of $3.364 million in a player they envision as part of their rebuilding process and then do all they can to impede that player’s development.

During training camp, White’s condition became a hot topic of the mainstream media. Everyone and their mothers wrote stories filled with boo-hoo-hoo anecdotes that tugged at our heartstrings and asked us to squeeze another poor soul into our sympathy bucket.

Gimme a bleepin’ break.

Here’s what Alexander and Morey should do, in this order: (a) Offer White a plan where he plays only home games while treating his condition; (b) Immediately begin exploring trade options for White. If a team offers a second-round pick, take it and be done with him; (c) Cut him and eat the money.

And if White thinks that (c) won’t happen, he is kidding himself. This offseason, Morey cut 10 – Ten! – players he acquired in trades. He used the amnesty clause on Luis Scola, paying him to play elsewhere. His willingness to purge the roster of anyone that does not fit his rebuilding plan is chillingly evident.

And Morey wouldn’t be the first GM who was dead wrong on a first-round pick with huge question marks and cut his losses early. Golden State bailed on Chris Washburn. Dallas turned its back on Leon Smith. Even Houston – before Morey’s time – gave up on Eddie Griffin. Joseph Forte. Ed Gray. Kevin Brooks. The list goes on and on.

To the PC police who sit around waiting to be insulted so they can hand out holier-than-thou scoldings, here it comes.

This is the NBA. It stands for No Babies Allowed. White said he has an anxiety disorder, not an adulthood disorder. Grow up.

On to the rankings.


  1. john steppling says

    Barnes is too high. You might note just how bad he is defensively before you rank him third. MKG deserves higher for same reason….defense. Id keep zeller in there, nice game last night. Singler is a revelation……outstanding, and maybe should be #3. Terrence ross has looked solid in limited minutes.

  2. Jen says

    “Everyone and their mothers wrote stories filled with boo-hoo-hoo anecdotes that tugged at our heartstrings and asked us to squeeze another poor soul into our sympathy bucket.”

    As someone who deals with depression, this is extremely offensive and disappointing that people still think this about mental illness. The Rockets knew that Royce White dealt with anxiety issues and OCD before they ever drafted him. He was completely honest about it during the entire process. If they can’t be accommodating and understanding of his condition, then why did they ever draft him? To you and complaining Rockets fans, there are things that are bigger than basketball.

    • A.J. says

      I “deal with depression,” as well, so I hope you don’t think you’re speaking for anybody other than yourself. All that’s required under the Americans with Disabilities Act is to make reasonable accommodations for this guy, and they’ve done that.

      No, what this guy has is a narcissistic sense of entitlement and an adversion to the reality that he’s now a deep bench player. Delonte West used to pull the same crap and still pulls the same crap, and this brand of narcissism won’t fly. Unfortunately for these types of raging idiots, narcissism isn’t considered a disability under the Act..

      So the original post was right. Boo-hoo. The people really getting screwed are the Rockets, because they had an agreement.

    • Arky says

      Right, the Rockets knew and by all accounts have bent over backwards to help Royce White out. He’s throwing a fit over playing D-league and not getting game minutes and using the illness as an excuse, and it’s not going to fly. If he needs therapy then he should be attending therapy. If it’s his illness making him act like this then his agent and family need to get him help, not enable this very public tantrum. Maybe the best path for Royce White right now is to get into therapy and have the Rockets accept him away from the team in therapy for a month or something, and then come out and apologise for how he’s acted and accept earning his spot through the D-league.

  3. Colin says

    I’m a little confused. In 8 games, Dion has shot 42% or better 6 times. His scoring output has been somewhat erratic, though you would expect that from a rookie (however, 5 games out of 8 in double figures is pretty good).

    As a Cavs fan, I’m far from infuriated with his shooting. In fact, I’m quite pleased with it.

    • A.J. says

      He does’t rebound, he doesn’t pass, he doesn’t defend, he doesn’t drive to the hoop, he doesn’t get to the free throw line, and his shot selection is as prudent as Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ when he shot 13 three-pointers during the 2009 playoffs.

      But other than that, Waiters is terrific.

  4. Ugh says

    C’mon Chris, this website should have better quality op-ed than this. You don’t know admit you don’t anything first hand about the White’s game and you don’t demonstrate any knowledge of his anxiety disorder – you’re clearly rattling off some inflammatory paragraphs to attract some traffic, rather than actually given informed opinion. This is really lazy journalism.

  5. Bernman says

    Great piece on Royce White Chris. Well said. As a Rocket fan, I was very weary of picking White. It is time for him to go. I just hope for his sake that his future turns out better than Eddie Griffin’s.

  6. Sam says

    I am so pleasantly surprised with how well Singler has played…even if he isn’t a long-term answer as a starter he seems like a great rotation guy. Drummond looks further along than hoped too. Maybe Pistons will actually have a future..

  7. says

    Once again? I don’t see any actual rankings. Just some paragraphs speaking about rookies. Where’s the page with the rankings? Am I missing something here?

    • Ugh says

      There’s a “next page” button at the bottom right of the article on Royce White. Kind of a questionable change to the format of the site.

      • Jim says

        Agreed, the next page feature is incredibly annoying.

        Having said that, I couldn’t agree more about Lillard. I know All-Stars usually come from winning teams, but if is averaging anywhere close to 20ppg and 8ast he has to be considered.


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