Daryl Morey calls Royce White arguably ‘the worst first-round pick ever’

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The Houston Rockets selected Royce White with the No. 16 pick in the 2012 draft.

He spent a year with the Rockets while anxiety issues kept him from being with the team and was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, who cut him before this season began. At this point, it appears to be a huge longshot White will ever play in the NBA.

Since 1972, just five other players have been drafted that high without playing in the NBA:

  • Nerlens Noel (No. 6 in 2013 by 76ers)
  • Lucas Nogueira (No. 16 in 2013 by Hawks)
  • Fran Vasquez (No. 11 in 2005 by Magic)
  • Frederic Weis (No. 15 in 1999 by Knicks)
  • Len Bias (No. 2 in 1986 by Celtics)

Noel will obviously get on the court, perhaps as early as this season. Nogueira has plenty of time to come stateside.

That leaves White in rare, though not quite unprecedented, company as Rockets general manager Daryl Morey suggests.

Morey, via Ben DuBose of ClutchFans (hat tip: Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball):

“I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever. He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe. It just shows we swing for the fence,” Morey quipped.

    White isn’t the worst first-round pick ever, and Morey doesn’t believe that.

    Analytically inclined people like Morey are process-oriented, not result-oriented. Morey has sound reasons for drafting White, whose basketball talent dictated he should have gone much higher in the draft. Concerns about his anxiety issues rightly pushed him down draft boards, but the reward outweighed the risk where Morey selected him.

    That logic matters more to Morey than whether White actually panned out as an NBA player. Calculated risks aren’t bad moves if the calculations were correct, regardless of how the hand unfolds.

    If Morey just means based on results, Bias, who died from cocaine overdose days after the draft, was a worse pick by that standard. After all, he was drafted 14 spots higher than White.

    But it seems a little cold to debate whether a player who died or a player who couldn’t overcome his anxiety issues was the worst first-round pick of all time, which leads to my final and most-significant point.

    Isn’t it a little insensitive for Morey to publicly chastise a person whose mental state has caused himself great distress? White didn’t work out in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve compassion.

    It’s one thing to discuss how and why White didn’t make the NBA, but it’s another thing to single him out as “the worst first-round pick ever” when the standard used to select him doesn’t even put him at the bottom of the list. This just feels like unfairly piling on.

    Damian Lillard’s goal in meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen: ‘Spark that urgency’

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    Alleviating Paul Allen’s fear, Damian Lillard didn’t request a trade in his requested meeting with the Trail Blazers owner.

    So, what did Lillard want to accomplish?

    Lillard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:

    It was just me showing urgency, spark that urgency, figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we got to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.

    Paralyzed by a huge payroll, the Trail Blazers have been going the opposite direction. They dumped Allen Crabbe and Noah Vonleh in their last two significant trades. Portland could let Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier walk in free agency this summer. Luxury-tax concerns aren’t vanishing. Evan Turner‘s, Maurice Harkless’ and Meyers Leonard‘s are major obstacles to upgrading the roster.

    The Trail Blazers could be stuck.

    That’d be rough news for Lillard, who’s already 27. I understand why he’s trying to push the envelope. His prime is ticking down.

    I’m just not sure Portland can help him accomplish his championship-contention goals anytime soon, as hard as he presses.

    Adam Silver jokingly thanks Magic Johnson for paying for All-Star Legends Brunch

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    The NBA held its annual All-Star Legends Brunch last weekend. Jerry West, James Worthy, Bill Walton and Magic Johnson were honored.

    And NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered a great line while addressing the event.

    Silver, via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

    “Magic, thank you for paying for the brunch today.”

    So, that’s why Johnson got fined for $50,000 for tampering for innocuous comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    Nate ‘Tiny’ Archibald reveals he’s living with incurable heart disease

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    The National Basketball Players Association and NBA set up health screenings for former players.

    Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who starred for the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics, took advantage. Unfortunately, he learned a difficult outcome.

    Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

    IT WAS DECEMBER 2016 when Archibald learned of his diagnosis, during a free screening at the New York offices of the NBPA. And now, more than a year later, he’s still reeling from the news.

    “What I have is really rare,” he says. “There’s no pills, nothing they have found that works. I’m being tested all the time, just hoping, you know?

    “My [heart] could go any minute. But I’m not ready for that. I want to be around for a long time.”

    The medical community has had little success solving the riddle of amyloidosis. For those who suffer from it, aside from participating in clinical trials, or the possibility of a heart transplant, which at Archibald’s age may not be viable, there isn’t much that can be done.

    We celebrated Archibald’s 69th birthday last fall with this highlight video. If you’re not familiar with the 6-foot-1 guard’s exciting game, get acquainted:

    Hopefully, Archibald gets his wish and sticks around a long time.

    Jeremy Lin: I believe J.J. Redick

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    76ers guard J.J. Redick explained then apologized for saying what sounded like a slur for Chinese people, claiming he was tongue-tied.

    Nets guard Jeremy Lin:

    Lin’s Asian-American heritage helps make him very popular with the same people most offended by Redick. Lin vouching for Redick will likely go a long way in diffusing tension.