The Rio Grande Valley Vipers scored a season high during their 139-122 victory over the Maine Red Claws (who happen to now boast five NBA D-League All-Stars), but perhaps nothing that happened on Tuesday night was bigger (especially as it relates to NBA basketball) than the debut of Rockets' assignee Royce White.
The moment finally came when the rookie hit the hardwood for the first time in his professional career. Needless to say, such a debut was ever so highly anticipated after White chose to hold out until a better understanding was reached (and proper attention/care was given) with regard to the needs of his anxiety disorder.
Nevertheless, White enjoyed moderate success and filled up the stat-sheet a bit in limited minutes. The forward scored 7 points, grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds, dished out 4 assists, and had a plus/minus of +8 in 18 minutes off the bench. It should be noted he also committed 5 fouls and 3 turnovers.
During White's debut, a couple of RidiculousUpside.com's theories and/or informal predictions from this piece here were proven correct. In the spirit of the Rockets rookie's first outing, let's review them below:
White won't be force fed minutes in the D-League: It appears as though White will have a bit of an extended stint with RGV as he progresses, but that doesn't mean he'll lead the minor league team in minutes. In addition to the newly assigned Viper, the Rockets are constantly plucking their young guns back forth between Houston and the NBADL affiliate. What's more, as the second seed in the D-League, the Vipers have a very talented roster with solid depth from A to Z. The mass majority of such prospects have all graced the NBA hardwood some time in the last two seasons. The talent is abundant, so expect White to fight for his minutes in RGV just as he'll eventually have to do with the Rockets.
He won't lead the Vipers in scoring and/or be a featured player on offense: As we've mentioned before, White's game while in college seemed to thrive on him being able to contribute by doing all of the little things, such as rebound, play defense, and help move the ball. As the Vipers look to help him develop and get ready to finally don a Rockets jersey again, expect them to help him embrace the type of player he is and has the potential to be in the NBA. White should be able to progress by doing what he's known for, all the while proving he can be a team player and not a distraction in such an atmosphere. He can leave the scoring to his other skilled teammates.