It was no surprise when Royce White recently decided to issue a statement regarding his disinterest in playing for Rio Grande Valley (Houston Rockets NBA D-League affiliate) once their postseason begins. White has been a controversial figure all season long for both Houston, and Rio Grande Valley. The former Iowa State product has made clear that the proper treatment for his anxiety disorder remains the most important issue for him moving forward.
Typically, a player with White's skill set missing on an NBADL roster to start the postseason, could be considered detrimental for a team. However, the Vipers current roster is loaded with talent, and going on a playoff run without a distraction and unwilling player such as White, may actually benefit the team.
Since joining the Vipers, White has missed just three games. RGV won all three contests and scored above 100 points in each of those game. Players such as Terrence Jones, Andrew Goudelock, Glen Rice Jr., and D.J. Kennedy all stepped up in White's absence, and provided the team with plenty of fire power. In fact, head coach Nick Nurse and his staff, have done an excellent job in creating a winning culture despite the numerous players that have been bestowed upon them this season.
White came aboard the Vipers' roster in mid-February this season, and slowly inserted his physically dominant, yet crafty play within the team. On the season, White is averaging an unimpressive 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists, given his much talked about talents after being drafted 16th overall by Houston. Despite his totals through 14 games, White has seemed to come on strong for RGV as of late, especially in his last 8 games. During 7 of his last 8 games, White has scored in double-digits, and averaged 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 29.2 minutes.
White is a beast of player when he is actually out on the court, although it could seem that way due to White squaring off against NBA D-League players, rather than the much larger players found in the NBA. In any regard, White seems to be a step ahead of his competition while playing in the NBADL, however, with his inconsistent minutes and play, those skills can only go so far.
I wrote a piece about the amount of "patience" which fans, and the Houston Rockets organization would need when White began his stint in the D-League. Now, that aforementioned patience should be completely removed, as well as White's spot in Nurse's rotation heading into the postseason. White himself said that he "wants them (Vipers) to have a team that's going to stick together." As the Vipers conclude their regular season already winning the Central Division with just four games (all at home) remaining, why should Nurse feel obligated to give White minutes?
Nurse has plenty of options to go with over White in his lineup. In terms of scoring, Goudelock has issued an MVP-type of year since joining the Vipers, "Mini-Mamba" has averaged 21.5 points while playing for RGV. Terence Jones has also turned it on as of late for the team, and can explode on any given night. Sure, the team has seen it's fair share of departures in terms of players who contributed rebounds and defense, but Chris Daniels and D.J. Kennedy's scrappy play, should suffice on that end of the floor heading into April.
White's act has likely grown stale in RGV, and now that the big man has made it clear that he has no desire to be apart of the team during the most crucial part of the season, fans and the Vipers organization should have no problem seeing White go by the wayside. Despite White's absence, RGV will remain a heavy favorite as the NBA D-League season gets set to kickoff it's exciting playoff stretch.