New York Knicks Should Have Given Royce White a Trial

By Kellin Bliss
Royce White
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re selected No. 16 overall in an NBA Draft, there has got to be some talent in the player. However dormant those talents may be for some, especially those slapped with the “bust” label, it’s got to be there, right?

Royce White was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2012, but never played a single minute. He was cut by the Philadelphia 76ers before this season started and was just signed to a ten-day contract by the Sacramento Kings. Almost two years after being drafted, White may finally log a minute in the NBA. So it’s hard to say that he’s been a bust, but the player who suffers from anxiety disorders has been given a bad rap in his limited time in the NBA.

If White can figure out how to balance his disorder with being a professional basketball player, the Kings may have found a diamond in the rough. A team that could have actually used White’s talents are the New York Knicks, so it’s very unfortunate that they didn’t reach out to the 6-foot-8 power forward.

The 22-year-old is a bit undersized for the position, but what he lacks in size he adds in versatility. He is a gifted passer, having averaged five assists per game in his one season with Iowa State, a number that led the team. He also led the team in points per game, rebounds, steals and blocks.

The Knicks currently are going with a big frontcourt in the starting lineup with Amar’e Stoudemire lining up next to Tyson Chandler. This lineup change has left the Knicks with Jeremy Tyler and Cole Aldrich as the two backup options behind Chandler and Stoudemire. Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin are still hurt.

Speaking of Martin, his absence has been largely felt by the Knicks. Martin spaced the floor and was a superb passer out of the low post for the Knicks. During the Knicks’ best stretch of the season from Jan. 5 to Jan. 13, Martin was starting and averaging about 30 minutes per game. The Knicks won five straight games and Martin tallied 14 assists during this time. He significantly helped the Knicks improve their ball-movement. He was injured after this stretch of games, the Knicks lost their next five games and are 7-18 since that time.

Clearly White is no Martin, but the fact that a passing power forward such as Martin who was able to turn the Knicks into a winning team with his ability to improve the team’s ball movement should have been enough to warrant the Knicks’ interest in White.

White’s disorder makes it difficult for him to travel for away games via airplane. However, five of the Knicks’ next eight games are at home, one is in Philadelphia and one is in Boston — short bus rides from New York City. He would only be unable to accompany the team this weekend on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It would have been a good window for a trial run in New York for White. He could have given the Knicks something they found success with in Martin, but the opportunity has come and passed.

Kellin Bliss is a New York Knicks writer for Follow him on Twitter or “Like” him on Facebook.

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