Royce White not in Rockets camp, deals with anxiety disorder

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Royce White’s anxiety disorder was well known around the time of the draft and it scared a few teams off. White has the potential to be a quality point/forward in the NBA, but he also has a fear of flying as part of the disorder. He’s a big man with real ball handling skills and quickness, but that fear can paralyze him.

And it seems to have done just that — as of Wednesday he has not yet arrived at Rockets training camp, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The Rockets would not elaborate. Asked when he expected White to join the team, coach Kevin McHale said, “I have no idea.”

Rockets GM Daryl Morey went with the public statement released to the media rather than take questions.

“We are committed to Royce’s long-term success, and we will continue to support him now and going forward,” he said.

Fear of flying is less than ideal for an NBA player who spends a lot of time during the season moving around the country. But White had been out at the Rockets facilities for workouts and even joked around about it at a season ticket holder event, the Chronicle reports.

Houston brass clearly can’t be thrilled that a first-round draft pick rookie can’t be in camp, but it’s also a situation where they want to be sympathetic and help him find a way to deal with it.

A number of bloggers — including our own Matt Moore, writing over at CBS — have talked about their own anxiety disorders and how it can disrupt your life. It’s great writing that provides real insight and context to the story.

White is not a head case, he has an illness. To suggest otherwise is callous and ill-informed.

But teams knew about the disorder going into the draft, he talked about it with anyone who asked. There was a risk, this was it. All the Rockets can — and what they should — do is support him. Hopefully the Rockets end up with a quality player out of it.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.