Royce White making 100 flights in a season? ‘Hell no,’ he says

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The Rockets knew what they were getting when they drafted Royce White, and even more so, the 76ers knew what they were getting when they traded for him.

White is, I think, a talented player, but I can’t say that with much certainty, because he’s never played in the NBA. His anxiety issues, which include a fear of flying, complicated his relationship with Houston as a rookie last year, and they’re not going away in Philadelphia.

Randy Peterson of USA Today:

Royce White is ready to play in the NBA, probably for the Philadelphia 76ers, once the trade from Houston becomes official.But making 100 plane flights during a season?”Hell no,” the former Iowa State basketball star said after playing for the Walnut Creek YMCA Wednesday night in the YMCA Capital City League at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School.”One hundred flights would be like if you’re allergic to peanut butter – it’d be like spreading your whole body with it.”

I wish White the best, both personally and professionally. He’s clearly struggling to balance both aspects of his life.Unfortunately, his NBA career is passing him by. White’s team can do its best to accommodate him, but on a fundamental level, NBA players must fly to get to games. If White can’t do that, there’s not a spot for him in the league.I’d love to see the big forward with point-guard skills in action, but there are still so many hurdles to clear. Frankly, I’m a little surprised a team took him off Houston’s hands – unless the 76ers accepted White’s salary to get the rights to Furkan Aldemir.I wouldn’t close the book on White’s NBA career, but this statement shows how far there is to even getting it started.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?