After passing his physical prior to the weekend, Rockets' rookie Royce White has successfully arrived in Rio Grande Valley with plans to embark on a stint in the NBA D-League.
The Rockets have twice assigned White to their NBADL affiliate with little success. The forward has continuously resisted reporting, citing the need for new and improved guidelines in his contract. As part of White's anxiety disorder, he has difficulty traveling. Before beginning his basketball career, he wanted to make sure that the Rockets not only had his best interests in mind, but also thoroughly understood the type of care and attention his disorder entails.
With all of that now taken care, White is in RGV, excited to hit the hardwood. His tweet here not only confirms that he's made it to town, but that he expects to surpass expectations.
There's no denying that White can play. After selecting him sixteenth overall in last summer's NBA Draft, the Rockets are clearly high on his abilities. His versatile skill-set would seem to make him an ideal complement to some of Houston's more offensively dominant players. Not one to command the ball all too much, White is the sort of player whose game thrives on crashing the boards and moving the ball. His skills suggest that he would fill the role in that of an old school point-forward.
Of course, that all may be difficult to recall and/or recognize, given White's inability to hit the hardwood for the Rockets so far this season. Some reports suggest that should White hit the ground running and impress early on, he'll be back in Houston sooner than later.
That said, perhaps White will be forced to earn his minutes as he goes along in RGV. The Vipers are one of the D-League's more talented squads, but even more importantly, allowing the rookie to fight to prove himself may make him more so ready for the NBA grind.
There's no denying White has the potential to help the Rockets. Led by James Harden and Jeremy Lin, however, Houston has been able to surprise some people by emerging as a legitimate playoff contender. Currently holding on to the Western Conference's final postseason spot by a couple of games, it may be key to not rock the boat too much.
Easing White in will be a key to both his development and the Rockets' success. Allowing him to initially get his reps in the D-League will help them do that.
NBA teams making their assignees earn minutes in the D-League (rather than mandating that the affiliate force feed them playing time regardless) is not a foreign method of practice as of late. Kevin Murphy of the Jazz had work his way up with the Reno Bighorns, and most recently, Doron Lamb of the Bucks could be seen logging minutes as sixth man of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. These are simply two examples of what's quickly becoming a growing trend.
However White's D-League stint may begin, the important thing is that it's finally beginning. Questions have been swirling with regard to whether or not White's career would begin for months now. Perhaps any success he may have, and any impact he can possibly make for the Rockets this season, is simply all gravy with regard to current expectations.