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.

    Clippers owner Steve Ballmer: ‘We’re moving to Inglewood come hell or high water’

    AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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    The Lakers and Clippers share an arena in Los Angeles, which – as everyone understands it – means the Clippers play in the Lakers’ arena.

    That doesn’t sit well with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. So, he wants to get a new arena built just for the Clippers in Inglewood.

    And cost, legal red tape and lawsuits aren’t going to stop him.

    Helene Elliot of The Los Angeles Times:

    “We’re moving to Inglewood come hell or high water,” he said of a proposed arena near the site of the stadium being constructed for the Rams and Chargers. “We gotta have a house. So we’re working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in L.A., which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years.”

    Ballmer is probably used to getting what he wants. I doubt he backs down here. It should be noted some of the legal and public relations push back on the plans comes from funding via the Madison Square Garden group (owned by Knicks’ owner James Dolan), which five years ago sank $100 million into the Lakers’ old home the Forum to refurbish it into a major concert venue. The new Clippers building would be just a couple blocks away from the Forum.

    This also at least partially explains why the Clippers insist on remaining competitive. Local politicians are less likely to greenlight a new arena for a tanking team.

    Juan Carlos Navarro retires

    AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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    It took Juan Carlos Navarro a long time to try the NBA.

    It didn’t take him nearly as long to determine the league wasn’t for him.

    The No. 40 pick in the 2002 draft, he finally signed with the Grizzlies in 2007. But after only one season as a backup guard in Memphis, he returned to Europe.

    Now, his standout career in Spain is ending.

    Barcelona release:

    The club hereby announces that Juan Carlos Navarro shall be forming part of its basketball structure from the 2018/19 season, as established in the contract signed in September 2017, now that he has retired from active sporting duty.

    Most NBA fans will never realize how talented Navarro was. He was a good score-first point guard at a time many teams still wanted a more-traditional point guard. Unhappy on a losing team in a foreign country, he didn’t try to find a workable solution.

    Instead, he starred in Spain, out of sight of American fans – except international competitions, where he reminded everyone how good he was.

    We should appreciate Navarro’s impressive career. We can also wonder about the “what if?” surrounding him and the NBA.

    Report: Former NBA star Tom Chambers charged with assault in restaurant altercation

    AP Photo/Jack Smith
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    Tom Chambers, who starred with the Seattle SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns, has been charged with assault after a confrontation at a Scottsdale, Ariz., restaurant in April.

    TMZ:

    Witnesses told police the other patron, Alexander Bergelt, began to take verbal jabs at Tom including, “You’re not sh*t,” “You’re tall and scrawny” and “Look at your big head.”

    Tom told police the final straw came when Bergelt said, “Your mom should have killed you when you came out of the womb as ugly as you are, your arms are skinny, your chest is this. Your belly is big.”

    Tom admits he “absolutely put hands on [Alexander]” but never punched him. Tom says he was trying to get Alexander to “show respect.”

    Alexander told police a different story — saying Chambers came at him from across the bar, grabbed him by the throat and threw him backwards.

    Bergelt is 22. Chambers is 59.

    J.J. Redick says he saw woman hidden in trunk of his chauffeured car

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    J.J. Redick, his wife Chelsea and sister-in-law Kylee took a chauffeured car in New York recently.

    According to the 76ers guard, Kylee spotted a person in the back. The trio had the driver pull over and exited.

    Redick on The J.J. Redick Podcast:

    I’m like, “Sir, I think there’s a person in your backseat.” And so he lifts the blanket up, but like towards the window, so that the blanket is facing up, so we couldn’t see, because we were on the sidewalk – perpendicular to the car, not behind the car. And he’s like “No, there’s nothing in here. There’s nothing in here.” And he closes the blanket back. And then he closes the trunk. And as he’s walking around to the front seat, a head pops up.

    No, this is not funny. There’s a back of a female’s head. She’s blonde hair. There’s a ponytail. And based on the size of the box or cage that this person is in, it’s either a very small human or a child. And I’m like, “We all saw it, right?” So, he drives off.

    She’s like, “No. The reason I said there was a person is because I saw movement in my peripheral, out of my right eye. So I turned around, and the blanket was moving. So when I looked back, half of a human face came out of the blanket.” She said, “I saw a woman’s eyes, woman’s face, woman’s blonde hair.”

    That’s pretty scary.

    Redick said he called the car agency and the police and that his wife planned to call the FBI.

    Hopefully, this wasn’t kidnapping, human trafficking or something like that. But it sure sounds as if it warrants investigation.