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- Measurables: 6-foot-8, 270 pounds, sophomore forward from Iowa State (apologies to Mr. White, who noted that I originally had his weight listed wrong here … I went with what Chad Ford had at ESPN, which apparently is no longer correct)
- Key Stats: 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals per game, 53 percent shooting, 33 percent 3-point shooting
- Projected: Mid first/early second
- Hickory High Similarity Score
Why I’m intrigued by this guy
“White showed off his LeBron James-esque (if you love him) or Boris Diaw-esque (if you’re not sure) ability to play like a point guard despite being 6-foot-8.”
You know what? I’d be cool with getting Boris Diaw on the unlikely chance he fell to the second round. White is someone I expect to rise rather than fall, but still … it would be great for a talent like him to last until the Pistons pick in the early second round.
Pros for the Pistons
There’s no question that talent-wise, Royce White is a first rounder. But maturity questions during his college career hurt his stock some and he’s hovered in the mid-first/early second territory in most preliminary mocks. Personally, I feel like he’s going to play his way solidly into the first with workouts before the draft, but if he doesn’t? He’d be an intriguing fit for the Pistons.
He’s big enough to handle himself up front, but he also has a face-up game and, most importantly, he’s a great passer. He’s kind of a bigger, more athletic Draymond Green — he can facilitate, he can rebound and he can score in a variety of ways. He won’t shoot as well as Green from the perimeter, but he finishes better inside. I think Green stands a better chance at being on the board when the Pistons pick in the second round, but I’d love to see a player with the skillset of either Green or White on the Pistons’ bench next season. Since the Pistons have guards in Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight who aren’t pass-first players, adding another player in White who, like Greg Monroe, is a naturally instinctive passer, wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Cons for the Pistons
I think White’s alleged ‘off-court issues’ seem overblown. He had a good season for Iowa State, including a pair of great performances in the NCAA Tournament. Still though, the Pistons love to tout how every one of their draft picks are also great humanitarians, so drafting someone in White who has had an off-court incident in his past would be contrary to that messaging. White has an anxiety disorder that he’s worked hard to manage, but with the interview processes all potential draftees have to go through, he’ll definitely get asked about it a lot.
On the court, White is used to having the ball in his hands a lot. With Stuckey, Knight, Monroe and Tayshaun Prince, it’s a good bet the Pistons wouldn’t use him in that kind of role. They’d have to be convinced he can thrive without the ball too in order to be sold on him, I’d guess.
What others are saying
Off the court, White suffers from a well-documented anxiety disorder that’s triggered, in part, by a fear of flying. White actually had his grandfather drive him from Ames, Iowa, to Louisville, Ky., to avoid an incident. How that affects him at the next level is anyone’s guess … but it is an issue that will be addressed even before the draft. NBA teams will want to interview him and administer tests, as well as have him visit. Most draft prospects are on planes every other day flying from city to city.
White did a lot to improve his stock this week and will get a serious look from NBA teams in the mid to late first round. But he’s going to have to shine in the draft workout process. Given how far he’s come already, it’s hard not to root for him.
To go along with his perimeter skills, White is also very comfortable operating in the post, showing the same unselfishness and willingness to find his teammates for open looks, while also being able to create baskets for himself. He displays excellent footwork, with the ability to back his man down or face him up, utilizing spin moves and his quick feet to get to the basket, where he then uses his strong body, soft touch, and excellent body control to finish at the rim.
White is a high risk/high reward prospect if there ever was one … His development will have to be handled very carefully by whichever team drafts him … If he’s selected by a team that is willing to both be patient and let him play to his strengths, then he very well could be the steal of the draft.
Royce is not only a one-of-a-kind talent, but is also the most engaging and genuine young man I’ve worked with in my five years coaching in the league.
I’ve had the opportunity to coach some great players and people such as Wes Johnson (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), among many others. These players were impressive people in various ways but, other than Josh Young from Drake, Royce was the first person to truly engage with the fans in the stands and individual kids who looked up to him – not just in conversations about basketball but anything.
What is the best thing Royce White does for his team?
Royce White presents skills and abilities unlike almost any other college player in the country. His ability to affect the game from all parts of the floor are made evident by his leading the Cyclones in points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals during his one season at Iowa State. He excelled when distributing the ball as much as when he took it to the hoop, and seemed more excited and eager to have his teammates involved than himself. More than anything else, though, is White’s strength. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in both upper body and leg strength. He showed against the likes of Andre Drummond, Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis that he can overpower guys with greater size and length, which bodes well for him at the next level.
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