Sixers look ahead to the new season
Royce White played 16 games in the D-League last year, often travelling via this RV. (AP)
One of the biggest questions some fans had about the Sixers was answered even before training camp started.
Yes, Royce White will fly.
White, the talented and controversial forward, did not play at all for the Houston Rockets last season in part because of his refusal to fly in an airplane. Suffering from anxiety disorder, flying triggered White’s ailment and negotiations with the Rockets regarding his demands for his mental health care were never settled.
As a result, White played in 16 games in the D-League last season. This season he says he does not see flying as an issue.
“I’m planning on it,” White said when asked if he was going to Europe with the Sixers for a pair of exhibition games in Spain and England next week.
White will fly when it is necessary and will drive when he is able to, he said.
“That was always the plan,” White said.
“When we went to negotiate my travel plans last year with the Rockets, the only plan was and always will be for me in this league will be to fly when I have to and drive when I can.
“It just turned out that after I agreed to the deal with Houston in mid-February when we got all the I's dotted and the T's crossed, everywhere we went I was able to drive. Our coach was that flexible. I didn’t have to be at shootaround the day of the game and it was a really flexible situation that I could drive everywhere by RV and that was really cool.”
The Rockets selected White with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He played two years of college ball — one at Minnesota and another at Iowa State — before declaring for the NBA Draft. With three first-round picks, the Rockets had the option of taking a chance with one of their picks, and White was that risk.
In July, the Sixers acquired White and the rights to international player Furkan Aldemir for a future draft pick. The Sixers said the deal was mainly meant to acquire Aldemir, but White could be one of those low-risk, high-reward pieces.
In his last collegiate season at Iowa State, White led the team in scoring (13.4), rebounds (9.3), assists (5.0), blocks (0.9) and steals (1.2). Scouts liked his size (6-foot-8, 270 pounds) and agility as well as his ability to handle the ball for a big man.
With plenty of opportunity to snag some playing time with the youthful and inexperienced Sixers, White thinks his skill set is a good fit.
“I’m an unselfish player, I think,” White said. “I like to get my teammates involved, and I get a personal gain out of getting guys open shots. That’s what I try to do during games and that’s what makes me happy. I think guys like that you can always find a place for and hopefully I’ll be able to do some of that.”
White also knows that if general manager Sam Hinkie had not gotten to know him during their time with the Rockets, he might not have the opportunity with the Sixers.
If White is looking for a fresh start, the Sixers are just the place to get going.
“It’s early, it’s a bonus to even be here. I’m lucky to have Sam take a chance on me — again,” White said. “I’m not saying I don’t deserve a chance, but we all know how it goes. There’s other people out there who can play and want to play. I’m just happy to be here and hopefully we can find an arrangement that works here in Philly.”