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NBA COAST TO COAST

NBA rookie is grounded in Houston

Royce White suffers from an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying, among other things, and his status with the Rockets is in limbo.

January 05, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Rockets rookie Royce White warms up before a preseason game against the New Orleans Hornets in Houston.
Rockets rookie Royce White warms up before a preseason game against the… (Pat Sullivan / Associated…)

The Houston Rockets are among the NBA teams that lean heavily on advanced metrics such as win shares and true shooting percentage, but there is no ready-made formula that can help them determine what to do about Royce White.

The rookie forward who suffers from an anxiety disorder remained in limbo after refusing an assignment to the Rockets' Development League affiliate. White said the Rockets had failed to heed the advice of the doctors who have been treating him for an intense fear of flying, among other issues.

White told Sirius/XM radio Friday that chances were "very high" that he never played in the NBA because the league lacks a protocol for dealing with mental health concerns.

"Business in America, as we all know, is about one thing and that's convenience and efficiency," White told the radio outlet. "And oftentimes what the efficient thing to do is not the healthiest thing to do, right? It wouldn't shock me if we couldn't be logical and say a protocol is needed because it'll be the hard thing to do.

"If that's the case then so be it. I stand on what I say and I refuse to put myself in a hazardous situation to play a sport."

The Rockets have not commented this week and were reportedly contemplating a suspension for White. He had attended Houston's first five games, traveling by recreational vehicle to Detroit, Atlanta and Memphis, before leaving the team.

He may never come back.

"There's right and there's wrong and there's safe and not safe," White said, "and right now things are not safe."

Suspended disbelief

Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle briefly threatened to suspend his underperforming players, a move that probably would not have gone over well in the league office or with the players' association.

"If I have to start suspending guys for not doing things they're supposed to be doing on the court, I'll do it," Carlisle said after the Mavericks had lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games.

Carlisle softened a couple of days later, saying he might turn to more traditional means of prodding his players.

"You fall back on how much you care about them," he said. "Fall back on coaching them harder and working on getting them better, and then if guys aren't doing what they're supposed to do on the court, then they've got to sit. You've got to get other guys in there."

Or, maybe you just play Washington. A victory over the hapless Wizards on Tuesday briefly put Dallas' tailspin on hold.

Jeremy Lin gives chase

He could be the first All-Star made in Taiwan.

Houston's Jeremy Lin trailed the Clippers' Chris Paul by only about 46,000 votes for the Western Conference's second starting backcourt spot in the All-Star game, presumably on the strength of a boost from voters in Asia.

The difference in the guards' play wasn't nearly as close.

Paul was averaging 16.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, and shooting 47.0% through Friday for a team that was 26-8. Lin was averaging 11.9 points and 6.4 assists, and shooting 43.1% for a team that was 19-14.

Stop the Linsanity? Yes, please.

—Ben Bolch

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