Feb 27, 2014, 11:41 AM EST
It’s easy to forget now, but Royce White was the No. 16 pick in the 2012 NBA draft for a reason.
He projected to have enormous upside thanks to his ball-handling and passing ability for his size, and he still had big-man skills to form the full package as a prospect. Before Giannis Antetokounmpo, there was Royce White.
The off-court concerns about White existed then, too, though. They’re why he slipped so far.
If not for those, the main draft debate about him would have been whether he’d be picked in the top or bottom half of the lottery. Prospects like that don’t lose all their value in two years, not even White, who has yet to play in the NBA as he’s dealt with mental-health issues.
The Sacramento Kings recently worked out 22-year-old forward and mental health advocate Royce White and are likely to sign him to a 10-day contract, two people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
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The Kings definitely aren’t making the playoffs this season, and they’re wisely tilting their rotation in favor of young players. That’s a good way to evaluate and develop potential future contributors – and earn a better draft pick in the process.
It’s a sound strategy, one that shouldn’t include only players already on the roster. White is a longshot to become a significant NBA contributor, but there’s little downside fir the Kings in trying to make him into one.
There are a host of obstacles to clear, even just to get White onto the basketball court. This experiment likely won’t work, and if it doesn’t, Sacramento might even improve its lottery odds while trying it. But if it does, the Kings get value where there was none.
It’s really a can’t-lose situation. How much could White harm them in 10 days?
There’s only upside here.
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