Royce White is smart enough that the questions aren’t going to stop. So with the Sixers prepared to fly to Charlotte on Wednesday for an 11 a.m. game against the Bobcats on Thursday, White is getting himself ready.
Asked about the trip to Charlotte, White pointed out that it was an eight-hour drive from Philadelphia. However, he said he was hoping to make the trip with his teammates in the chartered plane.
“I want to get some practice flying,” said White, who has a generalized anxiety disorder. “I want to be there with my teammates.”
White did not travel with the Sixers to Europe for a pair of exhibition games in Spain and England even though he said he was prepared to go. However, White played in the Sixers’ last two exhibition games against the Celtics and Nets, combining for 28 minutes, 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting, six rebounds and nine fouls.
In the undersized Sixers’ lineup, White, at 6-foot-9, has been spending time playing center. In Monday’s game against the Nets, he found himself matched up against Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett.
“I actually like playing the five,” White said. “It’s tough right now after these two games because I’m worried about the fouls and I can’t play as strong as I want to. But I think down the stretch we’ll handle that.
“I like playing against those guys like Lopez or [Houston’s Dwight] Howard. I like testing my strength down there. I don’t mind that.”
In the Sixers’ offense, however, there wasn’t much in terms of traditional posting up. With Lopez and Garnett handling the middle for the Nets, White and big man Spencer Hawes did not present a favorable matchup.
Still, post-ups in a half-court offense were few and far between for the Sixers. So too were the rebounds. On the defensive glass, the Sixers pulled down 18 boards. That’s the same amount of offensive rebounds the Nets got.
Since the Nets shot well and grabbed a ton of their own missed shots, the Sixers’ ability to get out on the fastbreak was nullified.
For head coach Brett Brown, the rebounding deficiencies present a challenge. They also present a chance for some teaching in practice when the coach can pull out some old tricks and box-out drills.
“It’s like the old high school drill where the coach would put a lid on the rim and you got a point if the ball hits the floor. It’s something like that,” Brown said. “When you look out there and see Thaddeus (Young) is working and Spencer is working … that’s the landscape. It’s the NBA. We better spend some time and admit some things in relation to defensive rebounding.”
White led the Sixers with three defensive rebounds and instead of turning and throwing an outlet pass to start the break, the big forward put his head down and took off up court with the ball.
That’s one way to get things started.
“It scared the hell out of me,” Brown said. “He is a runaway train, but that's OK right now. Because when he starts making good decisions, he's dangerous. Right now, it's hit or miss. It's something we'll have to bite our lip a little bit with. But he’s got a lot of game.”