Royce White says he’s prepared to walk away from NBA over dispute with Rockets

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The situation between Royce White and the Houston Rockets appears to getting worse before it gets better. And that’s if it gets better at all, a prospect that’s becoming less likely with each passing tweet and interview that White stubbornly continues to put out there.

The short version of what’s going on is this: White has been open and honest with the Rockets (and the world at large) about his daily struggle with an anxiety disorder. Part of the issue with his condition causes a fear of flying, which by itself is almost a disqualifier for anyone truly interested in pursuing a long-term career in the NBA.

The Rockets organization had planned to help White work through these issues to the extent that was possible, and intended on providing the necessary support to get him comfortable with life in the league. But due to White’s continued, extended, and unexcused absences from the team, the organization appears to be losing its will to deal with White and his issues.

Houston began fining White for his days away from the Rockets, and with the two sides at an impasse, White now says he’s considering walking away from the NBA entirely if he can’t get the support he believes he needs to lead a healthy life while pursuing his basketball dream.

From ESPN.com:

Speaking in an interview with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez, White said he was going to meet with general manager Daryl Morey on Monday to discuss his situation with the team.

“I’d rather tell them on the front end and be honest and transparent and never play again for that than allow me to become one of the stories because I wasn’t able to communicate,” White said.

Asked if he was sure he would give up his NBA career in the interest of openness and honesty, White replied, “If that’s what it means.”

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to side with White here, despite his initial bravery in publicly disclosing what he’s dealing with. The Rockets can’t provide help or support if White won’t show up or attend team-arranged therapy sessions, and the organization can’t make continual exceptions for White which allow him to be away from the team for random and extended periods of time.

It won’t be great for either side if White ends up walking away from the league; the Rockets are not going to trade or release him, so that’s going to be the end result if White continues down this path. And at this point, by choosing to speak publicly about the issues he has with the organization instead of showing up to try to make it work, White will be the one to blame, and the one that ultimately comes out on the losing end of all of this.

PBT Extra: LeBron, Cavaliers even series but Celtics far from dead

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If you want to make the case that the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the driver’s seat of the Eastern Conference Finals after sweeping two games at home, you’re in a good space. It’s a best-of-three and Cleveland has the best player on the planet on their side.

However, I still like the Celtics to hold on and win in seven.

I get into it in this PBT Extra, but the Celtics looked like a team that figured things out in the final three quarters of Game 4 (they just couldn’t make up for a disastrous first quarter), and they still have two games at home.

Either way, this feels like a series going the distance.

Did the Warriors deal Rockets a knockout blow in Western Conference finals?

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The Warriors beat the Rockets by 41 (!) in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday.

Biggest playoff win in Golden State franchise history.

Biggest playoff loss in Houston franchise history.

Biggest playoff loss ever handed to any team as good as the 65-17 Rockets.

“At the end of the day, it’s one win,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “It doesn’t matter if you win by 40 or if you win by one.”

Maybe it matters more than Green is letting on.

Golden State was the 17th team to -win a playoff game by more than 40 points. Of the previous 16, 15 – including the last 14 – won the series:

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The only exception came in my favorite playoff series of all-time, the best-of-three 1956 Western Division semifinals:

  • Game 1: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115
  • Game 2: Minneapolis Lakers 133, St. Louis Hawks 75
  • Game 3: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115

So, teams to win a playoff game by more than 40 are 15-0 in best-of-seven or best-of-five series. Will the Rockets buck the trend?

They can make adjustments. Maybe Houston’s strong regular season – better than any above blown-out team’s – indicates a rare capability to recover from this. Andre Iguodala‘s injury hurts Golden State. Teams sometimes make historic comebacks from blowouts, including against the Warriors.

But that Golden State ran toppled the Rockets so decisively in Game 3 suggests the Warriors are hitting a gear Houston won’t keep up with.

Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell receive, Jayson Tatum one vote shy of, unanimous All-Rookie first-team selections

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The 76ers’ Ben Simmons, Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma were locks for the All-Rookie first team.

The final seemingly up-for-grabs spot? It went to the Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen, and it wasn’t close.

Here’s the full voting for All-Rookie teams (first-team votes, second-team votes, total voting points):

First team

  • Donovan Mitchell, UTA (100-0-200)
  • Ben Simmons, PHI (100-0-200)
  • Jayson Tatum, BOS (99-1-199)
  • Kyle Kuzma, LAL (93-7-193)
  • Lauri Markkanen, CHI (76-21-173)

Second team

Others receiving votes:

The first team matches our choices.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Josh Jackson are the only selections I’d quibble with. Those two were just so destructive with shooting efficiency and defense. To be fair, they were pressed into larger roles than they were ready for on bad teams. But if the goal is picking the rookies who had the best seasons (what I aim to do), Smith and Jackson didn’t cut it.

However, some voters give more credence to long-term potential, and Smith and Jackson both have plenty of that. Other voters are drawn by bigger per-game numbers, which Smith and Jackson produced in their larger roles. So, it’s minimally surprising they made it.

That one first-team vote for Jackson, though? That’s odd – and it was enough to get him on the second team by one voting point over Heat center Bam Adebayo.

After climbing into striking distance of first-round, Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie staying in draft

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Georgia Tech sophomore shooting guard Josh Okogie nailed the combine. He aced his athletic testing, posting some of the best quickness numbers in the event’s history, and impressed even more with his 5-on-5 play.

Now, it’s time to capitalize.

Okogie:

Okogie appears to be a borderline first-round pick. NBA teams covet versatile wings like him.

Just 19 until September, Okogie is younger than freshmen like DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba and Michael Porter Jr. So, Okogie looks better on the aging curve than the typical sophomore.

At 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, he can defend three – maybe four – positions. He freelances a little too much defensively, but at least he’s active.

Okogie was probably miscast as a go-to offensive player at Georgia Tech. NBA teams won’t similarly lean on his deficient areas – court vision, ball-handling and finishing. He’ll probably be more efficient just spotting up and cutting.

The biggest variable in Okogie’s game is 3-point shooting. Will he reliably make NBA 3s? His form offers reason to believe, but not reason to be convinced.