After months of struggle between the first-round draft pick from Iowa State and the Houston Rockets, Royce White finally made his debut in the NBA D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, logging in a limited amount of minutes but with some success.
The Vipers defeated the Maine Red Claws 139-122, but the main focus was obviously on White. Coming off the bench, the rookie clocked in 18 minutes, 13 seconds. His stat line: seven points, eight rebounds, four assists, three turnovers, five personal fouls. He went 3-8 from the field, missed both 3-point attempts, and made one of his two free throws. One of his shots was blocked.
For someone that’s admitted he rarely played any basketball during his time away from the game, having that much all-around production despite the fouls was impressive. In a piece with Grantland earlier, White admitted that he only shot around with the ball about once a week.
Hopefully this marks the beginning of us being able to watch the rookie make the most of his season and possibly get a call up to the Rockets before the end of the season. As much debate as there is to whether White forced his hand with wanting a better “mental health protocol,” or whether this was more of a debate on his anxiety or a trust issue with the Rockets, that talk should die down with what he does on the court.