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Thread: Tbird 2012 NBA draft profile #6: Royce White

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    Default Tbird 2012 NBA draft profile #6: Royce White

    Today we start this week’s evaluations with a look at one of the more controversial players in this year’s draft class, the powerful forward from Iowa State, Royce White. I’ve already profiled Arnett Moultrie, Fabricio Melo,Moe Harkless, Jeff Taylor, and Marquis Teague, so this preview is the 6thprofile of the 2012 NBA draft.

    White played for former Iowa State star (and former Pacer)Fred Hoiberg while at Ames, so he at least should have had some NBA type experiences and drill work from his coaching staff in college. White checked in at the combine at 6’8, 261lbs, down a bit from what was expected from him weight wise…..most thought he’d weigh in at around 270. He also measured out with a wingspan of 7’0, which helps alleviate some concerns initially held.White certainly is a unique personality with a rare set of skills for someone his size, and whether or not you like his particular game will depend on how well you think those skills will translate.

    Obviously, we all know by now the red flags with White. He
    has some behavioral issues in his past while enrolled at Minnesota, including
    some issues with the law there. And his anxiety disorder is a very real problem
    for him, but not just for his fear of flying. His medications that he must take
    for that to even be functional as a person often can have side effects as well,as they will often affect his energy level and ability to feel at his best.This run down, lethargic feeling that he has due to this problem (when a panic
    attack hits him, his heart races and adrenaline is released) can often wear him
    out and cause him problems in terms of being 100% or being able to train as
    hard as you’d want.

    I believe those problems to be manageable, but it will not be easy and it won’t be without some accommodations being taken by whoever drafts him. It will have to be monitored constantly to make sure he stays on track.

    Against elite level college competition, White did really play well. 23 pts and 9 rebounds vs Anthony Davis, and 15 pts 13 rebounds against Andre Drummond, 18 pts 13 rebounds against Thomas Robinson. Obviously those weren’t all accumulated against just those guys only, but it still must be said that in the biggest moments of the year, White responded.
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    On the floor, Royce brings a lot of things to the table with his versatility offensively, but they often cut two ways.

    His first strength is his ability to pass the basketball and handle it out on the floor. Very unique for a player his size, White brought the ball up some for the Cyclones, but way more often than that he simply was who they ran their offense thru, usually receiving the first pass of a possession and then being asked to make the proper play after surveying the defense.

    An extremely unselfish player, White did a great job when he played this point forward type of role in their offense. Teams defending Iowa State were often flummoxed by this tactic, not knowing whether to come out and pressure White or to lay way off him. Almost always I thought on tape, opponents defended this poorly, getting caught in between sagging way in or really pressuring the ball. Caught in no man’s land, White’s passing shredded teams and got the Cyclones a ton of open looks.

    This particularly was a big weapon for Iowa State when White got a defensive rebound. White’s ability to rebound and then bring the ball upthe floor himself to lead a break or secondary offense is a special skill,probably the best part of his game.

    However, I do not believe his passing skills to be something that will carry over well to the next level, due to the other weaknesses in hi sgame, so this evaluation of his skills is likely to be lower than many of you will read elsewhere or are maybe hoping for from me.

    I think White can be guarded with the ball on the perimeter either of 2 ways. One (and most common for teams to try on tape) was to lay off him, daring him to beat them from the perimeter. And when they laid off far enough, this tactic worked, because at this point White really can’t shoot the ball well. I would rate him as a poor mid range shooter at this point, mainly because he stands way too upright with the ball and gets poor knee bend on his shot. I also believe he has a slower release on the perimeter that guys can get to at the NBA level and bother.

    The other way (and I think best way) to guard White I think is to attack him hard and try and crowd him. Again due to his being too upright with the ball and having poor knee bend, I think you can knock him balance and turn him over.

    When you crowd him and he tries to dribble byy you, he lacks the quickness and balance to be able to do that, so often he just lowers his shoulder and plows into you. Basically, I think if you guard him hard on the perimeter you can turn him over at will, and NBA teams I think will soon grasp that tactic. When pressured, it seems to me like White went to his right hand a vast majority of the time also, making him somewhat predictable.

    Numbers bear that out already. Playing in the Big 12, Whitecoughed it up 25% of the time he had it according to stats I found, and I think that number will increase or stay steady at the next level.

    White also right now has low value as a pick and pop player,due to his very poor jump shot. But Iwould expect this to become a weapon of his at some point, if he is going to be an effective NBA player. With his ability to pass against mediocre defense, ifyou can pick/pop him and make teams have to scramble hard to get to him, he al lof a sudden has a lot of value that he currently right now today doesn’t possess.

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    But where he can be a nice offensive player right now I think is in the low post, especially against guys his own size or smaller.

    First of all, White catches the ball well, which is an underrated skill. He can catch passes to either side of him and they don’t haveto be totally on target, which is nice. He does a really good job of rooting in deep position and in sealing his man off with his rear end before a pass is made. He creates space very well.

    Once he catches, White has nice footwork and all the moves and countermoves you’d hope a professional player would have. He seems like he can go to either shoulder equally well, and he has good balance and strength to finish thru contact. He is good at getting angles, and he possesses a nice up and under move.

    But…..against players bigger or taller than him, I’m not sure he will have the needed burst and leaping ability to rise and score over defenders…..I suspect he is going to be one of those post players that has to score more AROUND the defense than over it, and that means that he usually will be a man who NBA teams will be able to handle with bigger defenders.

    Now, if you are a team without bigger players to put on him,and you are forced to double team him, then you are in trouble. White is an excellent passer out of the double team, as he sees the floor very well and can make passes with either hand, including skip passes from one block to the opposite wing areas.

    White will need to develop a “Sikma” type reverse pivot inside to face up against bigger defenders, so he can take them off the dribble. I haven’t seen him with that particular move yet on tape, but he needs it I think. Since I believe that he is more of a smallish 4 man than a bigger 3man, he needs to add the face up game to his post up bag of tricks. He clearly is more comfortable facing the basket anyway, so you’d think this move is one he could grasp at some point early in his career, once he figures out he needs it.


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    White is a man on the glass, which makes his rebounding another major plus for him.
    If you are an old school coach or fan, you’ll like how White
    rebounds from a technique point of view, because he is a strong block out/holdrebounder. In other words, he is going to carve space, block his guy out with force, then be able to lasso the ball into his own giant hands if it is in his area. He will win a strength contest with others in traffic, and White isn’t shy about mixing it up.

    But if you are more “new school” in how you judge rebounders as a scout (as I am) then you have questions about how this will translate for him at the NBA level.

    I worry about White getting almost all of his rebounds below the rim, and about him not being able to get rebounds outside of his own area.I worry about him hardly ever being at this level the first guy in the air,which I think is huge for rebounding in high level basketball. And I have serious doubts about him getting “contested”rebounds in the air in key moments.

    I worry about him not following and flowing with the flight of the ball offensively when trying to board, and I have serious, deep doubts about his conditioning and energy level being a good rebounder night in/nightout with his body type and medical issues.

    I see him getting rebounds that are readily available to him,but I don’t see him being a plus board man at this level. To do that, you need to be able to react with quick twitch, get in the air numerous times per possession, and be relentless in chasing balls all over the place….and I just don’t see that in White, despite the gaudy numbers he put up in college.

    He rebounds a lot of with one hand as well, which is another sign of someone who perhaps is a bit out of shape and is trying to conserve energy…but it is also a sign of a guy with great hands, so it cuts both ways.

    And as mentioned above, his ability to bring the ball up after his own defensive rebound is special, and is another reason why I view him as a 4 man rather than a 3….with White on the floor, you’ll be able to essentially play 4 ballhandlers.
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    He also hit less than half of his free throws in college,which is another point of concern. While that can be corrected with enough sweat equity and time, you just don’t know how much someone will work at theigame at this level to improve their own weaknesses.

    Still, his form looks ok to me at the line. I think this is simply a matter of concentration and conditioning…..but you can’t just dismiss that, because his conditioning level due to his body type and anxiety medications are something you have to be worried about.

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    I think we can establish that White has some offensive skills, and clearly can play offense at this level, though just how impressive his skills will be are subject to debate. But how and who will he guard at this level?

    Again, to me he is clearly a 4 man, and the reason is his extra weight and lack of conditioning would make him a liability guarding perimeter players.

    But he is strong, and he won’t get posted easily inside. And against most 4 men his lack of footspeed won’t be that big of a problem.

    White definitely has some work to do defensively, and doesn’t project to be much more than average in my mind however. My biggest issue beyond what is already stated is he doesn’t get high hands on people to contest shots a lot….he definitely is a player who likes to raise one hand instead of two. Yet another sign of poor conditioning, that is.

    But I kind of have some high hopes for him defensively in time. I think he can be asked to guard a variety of guys, including some 5 men who have trouble with smaller/stouter defenders. I think he can be a good ballscreen defender if he puts his mind to it, and he seems like an intelligent team defender from what I can tell, who no doubt was taught well by Coach Hoiberg. His biggest asset will be his strength, as, most post guys will not be able to move him and get deep position. White does leave himself vulnerable to the spin move inside as he tends to lay on his defenders, too often playing post defense from the waist up instead of the waist down, which he will need to fix at this level, but I am sure he can do that.

    He doesn’t project to be much of a shot blocker, but he should be able to be a guy who takes some charges and affect shots in otherways, if he puts his mind to it.

    Unfortunately, you can’t count on that, because in college I didn’t think he defended all that well and was very engaged on that end. And players with his body type and weight almost always struggle defensively more and more as they get older, so we will see. He definitely took plays off in college, especially near the end of segments (right before a tv timeout) and that will kill you if you do that at this level.
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    So, what do we have in Royce White?

    I think we have an offensive minded 4 man, who’s besstrengths as a player will be somewhat neutralized by the superior athletes antalent at the NBA level on a nightly basis.

    But his ability to pass the basketball and SEE the game won’t go away, and that will travel and age well. The key for him will to be developing a jump shot that is reliable, and to be able to play on a team where he is not the focal point of the team for the first time in his life.

    Perhaps more than any player in the draft, it is crucial for him to get in the right situation for him to shine. He likely needs to play in a smaller market, and with a team with high character guys around to him to keep him on the straight and narrow. From a basketball point of view, he needs to play on a team with a bigger center for him to play with, and with good defenders around him. He needs a team that can develop his shooting and coach him up effort and conditioning wise so he can reach his potential.

    I see him as a back up 4 man in the NBA, and to me he gives you no flexibility position wise…..he can’t really play center and I definitely don’t view him as a 3 man, though I am sure some do.


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    For Indiana and other teams considering him, I think thequestion is this: is his potential and upside as player if he reaches his maximum (or close to it) in ability worth the extra effort and risk that he brings?

    At some point, that risk will be taken by someone. But should we take it if he is available?

    My own personal answer to this question is no. I would pass on White, simply because I don’t like his game well enough to justify the potential headaches…..I just don’t see this “top 10” player potential tha tothers seem to. In my mind, his big major pluses just don’t help you win enough!

    A guy who blocks out well and who can rebound with one hand…..nice,but not a critical skill to me.

    A 4 man who is an outstanding passer and who can handle the ball very well……nice, but not a critical skill for my vision of this team andwhere it is going.

    In fact, I will tell you know that I think we already have a 4 man who can do all the things that White can do plus shoot the ball extremely well…..Danny Granger. I mean,seriously, if we wanted to play a more perimeter based 4 man, transitioning Granger to do that while moving Paul George to the 3 and then trying to find a major upgrade at the 2 or 1 spot makes way more sense to me than drafting a risky Royce White.

    And yes, I’ll be writing more about that idea when we get to July….I know some of you are probably cringing already.

    But back to the matter at hand: I’d personally pass on White, though I expect a lot of disagreement.
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    I admit, I have no real feel for where White could go.

    My best guess is that he makes the most sense for OklahomaCity at #29, but he could go long before that. Boston at # 21 or #22 makes sense to me as well. And I can see Dallas as high as #17 making a move for him.But I will go ahead and predict that White is chosen by……

    ……San Antonio in a draft night trade to move up near the end of the first round.

    And if I am correct, it would be a great fit for him and his game, so I hope that is what happens for him. Great market, tremendous coaching staff, and some great mentors on that team to help him with his issues are what he needs, and the Spurs have all of that in place.
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    Current NBA comparable: Boris Diaw
    Former NBA comparable: A poor man’s Anthony Mason

    As always, the above is just my opinion.

    Tbird

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    Default Re: Tbird 2012 NBA draft profile #6: Royce White

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    I think White can be guarded with the ball on the perimeter either of 2 ways. One (and most common for teams to try on tape) was to lay off him, daring him to beat them from the perimeter. And when they laid off far enough, this tactic worked, because at this point White really canít shoot the ball well. I would rate him as a poor mid range shooter at this point, mainly because he stands way too upright with the ball and gets poor knee bend on his shot. I also believe he has a slower release on the perimeter that guys can get to at the NBA level and bother.

    The other way (and I think best way) to guard White I think is to attack him hard and try and crowd him. Again due to his being too upright with the ball and having poor knee bend, I think you can knock him balance and turn him over.

    When you crowd him and he tries to dribble byy you, he lacks the quickness and balance to be able to do that, so often he just lowers his shoulder and plows into you. Basically, I think if you guard him hard on the perimeter you can turn him over at will, and NBA teams I think will soon grasp that tactic.
    The bolded reminds me of Lebron. The red flags are really scary, though.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Tbird 2012 NBA draft profile #6: Royce White

    I can say I'm disappointed with the review. It's a great write-up, but I guess I expected higher praise for White since he's been my favorite in this draft for awhile and thought he could be a great backup at the 3.

    I still like him, but perhaps I'll put the White kool-aid down.
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