Royce White still not with Rockets, attacks Wojnarowski on twitter

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One of the key lessons in life, for some people one of the hard ones to learn, is to pick your battles. When to let some things just go in pursuit of a more important, larger goal.

With that in mind, we bring you two bits of news about Royce White, the No. 16 pick of the Houston Rockets who has an anxiety disorder and does not feel the Rockets have done enough to support him.

First, he is still not with the team and there is no timetable for his return, reports the Houston Chronicle. Rockets GM Daryl Morey said the two sides are “talking things through” but he has not been with the team for two weeks and it is not clear when White may return.

Second, White took to twitter — his preferred medium of public communication — on Saturday to attack Yahoo Sports writer (and NBC Sports Network NBA Insider) Adrian Wojnarowski for a week-old article saying what a lot of people around the league have been saying: That in his quest for what he sees as fair treatment for his disorder he is throwing his NBA career away.

 

 

White had nearly 30 tweets going after Wojnarowski, some pointing out things listed in the article saying they are not true (specifically that there were concerns about playing time that led him to leave the Rockets). Woj has, as of now, not responded on twitter.

White wants to change the perception of what people with an anxiety disorder can do with the proper support. He wants to create awareness.

But the only way he can really do that is to be an active, contributing member of an NBA team.

Wojnarowski is no doubt one of the — if not THE — biggest name basketball journalist out there but he is also not the guy standing between White and playing in the NBA. What Wojnarowski wrote in that article is the perception around the league when you talk to teams, no matter what White thinks of it. Woj didn’t create the perception, and he’s not the one that can change it.

Publicly, the Rockets have been very supportive of White. But privately they will tell you all the things they have done for White, including allowing him to take a bus to many of the team’s away games and getting his a psychologist to see in the area. White and the Rockets clearly still do not agree on what the level of support should be.

I’m not going to pretend to know what the best course of treatment and what the best way for the Rockets to help White is. That is something for him and his doctors to work out with the team in the talks reportedly going on. This is not a simple situation with easy answers. But if White wants to change the perception of him he can only do that as a member of the Rockets.

From the outside, from where I sit, sometimes it doesn’t feel like Royce White’s primary goal is to be an NBA basketball player. Maybe it is, but this comes back to perception and it doesn’t feel like that is what he wants more than anything else. And maybe that’s a good decision for him, maybe this to him is a fight for something much bigger and more important (and if so attacking Wojnarowski is a distraction from that). But know that the feeling around the league is that if he is not committed there are a hundred guys in line behind him who may not be as talented but are fully committed. And teams would rather have those guys on the roster. That is not what Wojnarowski made up, that is what is being said.

And again, the only way for White to achieve those goals is as the member of an NBA team.

I really hope this ends up working out for both White and the Rockets. I’m not sure I see the path to that happening right now, but I hope it does.

Carmelo Anthony on shrinking role with Knicks: ‘I see the writing on the wall… I’m at peace with that’

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Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.

Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”

Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?

Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.

Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.

Could Anthony be at peace with that?

Dwight Howard’s offensive rebounding defies convention

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Hawks president/coach Mike Budenholzer has the authority to set the Hawks’ priorities.

“Organizationally, fundamentally,” Budenholzer said, “transition D is more important than anything.”

Dwight Howard challenges that daily.

Howard has already built a Hall of Fame résumé:

  • Eight-time All-NBA center, including five-time first teamer
  • Three-time Defensive Player of the Year
  • Five-time rebounding champ

But the big man is doing something he’s never done before: Grab 15.2% of available offensive rebounds.

And he’s doing it at age 31 in a league that has increasingly deemphasized offensive rebounding. The NBA will set a record this season for lowest offensive-rebounding percentage for the fourth straight year.

Teams have just figured getting back on defense trumps crashing the offensive glass, the strategy emanating most prominently from the Spurs. Budenholzer, a former San Antonio assistant coach, brought the plan straight to Atlanta. The Hawks ranked 28th, last and last in offensive-rebounding in his first three seasons — in part for philosophical reasons, in part because they’ve lacked the personnel to do better. They’ve also been a below-average defensive-rebounding team each season under Budenholzer.

Then Howard signed and forced Budenholzer to adjust.

Atlanta has become an above-average offensive-rebounding team and far better with Howard on the court – a helpful crutch with ace 3-point shooters Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague traded. The Hawks are ceding more transition opportunities, though they remain very good at defending those.

It’s an obvious tradeoff, says Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons coach who coached Howard with the Magic sees the center in the rare class of players who deserve full autonomy to chase offensive rebounds.

“You don’t limit those guys,” Van Gundy said.

Howard has made the most of his freedom to chase rebounds. His 15.2 offensive-rebounding percentage ranks second to only Kenneth Faried among qualified players.

And, again, Howard is 31. Offensive rebounding tends to be a young man’s game.

Here’s top 10 in offensive rebounding this season, plotted by age:

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Player Team Age Offensive-rebounding percentage
Kenneth Faried DEN 27 16.1
Dwight Howard ATL 31 15.4
Andre Drummond DET 23 15.2
JaVale McGee GSW 29 15
Tarik Black LAL 25 14.8
Tristan Thompson CLE 25 14
Rudy Gobert UTA 24 13.9
Enes Kanter OKC 24 13.9
Kyle O'Quinn NYK 26 13.9
Willy Hernangomez NYK 22 13.8

Howard’s previous career-high offensive-rebounding percentage was 13.8.

The only other players to set career-high offensive-rebounding rates north of 15% after their age-30 season: Dennis Rodman (20.8% at age 33 with the 1994-95 Spurs) and Alan Henderson (15.6% at age 32 with the 2004-05 Mavericks). Both Rodman (Cooke County Junior College and Southeastern Oklahoma State) and Henderson (Indiana) played four years of college basketball, giving them less wear and tear on their bodies and fewer opportunities to post career highs at a young age.

Howard jumped to the NBA straight from high school.

Yet, he’s having a resurgent year in his 13th season. How is he doing it?

“One, I’m not super old,” Howard said earlier this season. “Two, my body feels great. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff to take care of my body.”

Known for eating legendary amounts of candy earlier in his career, perhaps Howard has made a breakthrough. His defensive-rebounding percentage (31.8) is the second-best of his career and ranks fourth in the NBA. That has helped him anchor the league’s fourth-best defense.

Howard has been subject to widespread criticism, and last season with the Rockets was a low point. This year, Howard has recommitted to the basics: Rebounding, defending, scoring inside.

“He’s got a big personality, but I think we all knew that,” Budenholzer said. “But it’s all in the right place. He wants good things, and I’ve really enjoyed coaching him.”

So much so that Budenholzer has compromised a core basketball tenet for Howard.

And it has proved a worthwhile decision.

JaVale McGee misses open dunk (video)

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Shaquille O’Neal said he’d stop talking about JaVale McGee, who has featured prominently on Shaqtin A Fool.

This missed dunk, a low point in the Warriors’ otherwise-impressive win over the Spurs, will test Shaq’s sincerity.

Grizzlies’ James Ennis fouls out then hits half-court shot (video)

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Against the Pacers last night, James Ennis missed all three of his 3-point attempts… that counted. And he makes this one after fouling out?

Mike Conley more than picked up the slack to lead the Grizzlies to victory.