Royce White and the Rockets reached an agreement last night that will bring the rookie back on the court after a nearly three-month absence. The 6'8" forward will report February 11th to the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers and ostensibly make his NBA debut shortly thereafter. Presumably, the 16th pick in this past year's draft is finally back on track after grappling with the team over how to handle his psychological ailments.
Still, there's not much reason to believe this is the last bump in the road for White, who has threatened retirement and misled the team about his fear of flying in the leadup to the draft, according to GM Daryl Morey. The GM admitted to Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard that drafting White was a calculated risk, and that the club believed he had the talent of a top-five pick. He also knew White might not work out, though I'm not sure he anticipated quite the saga that's played out this season.
The Rockets had three first-round picks last year, and one of them, No. 12 selection Jeremy Lamb, was sent away as part of the trade that netted James Harden. The wealth of picks may have justified the team's willingness to go out on a limb with White, but as the Rockets collect assets in search of another star to accompany Harden, a draft bust wouldn't help matters.
Regardless of White's troubles thus far, Houston may have one of the most talented rookies in the league on its team soon. Does that justify the risks involved? Let us know.