Royce White's D-League Refusal Leaves Fans with More Questions Than Answers

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 24:  Roger Mason Jr. #8 of the New Orleans Hornets drives the ball around Royce White #30 of the Houston Rockets at New Orleans Arena on October 24, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets have made the decision to send Royce White down to the D-League, but White still feels that the Rockets have mishandled his mental health, refusing to go on the grounds of his doctors' orders.

After picking White 16th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, there have been nothing but questions and very few answers.

Royce White says he won't play for Rockets' D League team, citing "unsafe" atmosphere of team officials making mental health calls.

— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) December 30, 2012

 

White says HOU has only given an "image" of support, & provided info that is "extremely misleading, and a lot of times totally inaccurate."

— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) December 30, 2012

White's main problem is that the Rockets have failed to collaborate with doctors, outright defying their orders, according to his statement released to NBA.com.

The Rockets have told me in recent conversations that it is their right to decline even their own doctors' recommendations. The concept of not listening to medical consultants in medical situations is alarming. It is also alarming that a player is susceptible to fines for simply adhering to the recommendation of doctors.

If what White says is correct, then it seems that there's an obvious breach in trust by the Rockets' front office, and he has every right to refuse to play for a team that is outright ignoring medical professionals.

The only problem is that White's statement on the issue is the only thing we have to go on.

Royce White wasn't picked in the lottery and hasn't played. We can talk about him, but we're not talking about the NBA when we do

— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) December 30, 2012

Obviously, this has been a frustrating situation for everybody involved. The Rockets used a high draft pick to get White's unique talents in Houston. White himself has had to deal with balancing what's best for him with what's best for his image. The fans are left with nothing but questions on a subject with difficult-to-answer questions.

When a guy breaks his leg, there's a very straightforward process for returning to action, and everybody involved knows what's going to go down.

A doctor will evaluate the severity of the break, give an order of how long it's going to take to heal and re-evaluate it once that period of time is up.

After that, the player will undergo rehab alongside team doctors, and a constant flow of information will go between the player, team and the fans.

Everybody knows what's going on at every juncture, and you can physically see improvement as the days and weeks go by. The only thing that's going to keep a guy from playing is whether or not it still hurts.

White's situation isn't a visible debilitation, which has made it hard for everybody involved to really get a handle on what's going on.

Is he ever going to end up getting along with the Rockets and their front office? Will he end up playing for the Rockets? Should they just cut their losses and make a trade—probably best for both parties? Is White ever going to play in the NBA?

To each of those questions, we really have no answer, and nothing to base a guess on.

Dont know, I hope he does. Mental illness is as challenging as anything. RT @greala: You think Royce White ever contributes to a team?

— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) December 30, 2012

Most of us want to see White play. He's got such a unique set of skills that it seems like he would be able to help quite a few teams, if only he could get the help enough to make him feel comfortable.

Until then, it seems most pertinent to let this situation unfold before us before we jump to any kind of conclusions about either White or the Rockets.