There have been a lot of questionable first round picks throughout the history of the NBA draft – Dominque Jones, Lazar Hayward, and Darko Milicic – to name a few. But, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey believes that by selecting Royce White with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, that he is responsible for the "worst first-round pick ever."
“I take some sort of pride in that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever,” Morey quipped in a recent interview with ClutchFans.
Morey, insensitivity aside, was alluding to the fact that White may never play in an NBA game.
“He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe.”
White, who spent some of the past summer with the Sixers trying to find a fit with the franchise after being unable to do so in Houston, battles serious anxiety issues that have kept him from the court. He has yet to play a single second in the NBA despite possessing some true talent.
Many, including White, thought that he had a serious shot to make the Sixers and truly begin his career this season, but he was never afforded the opportunity and was cut after camp.
“I was pretty confident that I was going to make the [76ers],” White stated recently in what he called his "last interview with a sports journalist."
“I had earned the respect of my teammates and the coaches, and I had proven that I could play with the guys. Proven that I was a good teammate, proven that some of the things that were being questioned that maybe shouldn’t have been questioned,” he continued. “Everything in my mind said that I was going to make the team, but I understand that that doesn’t always happen.”
White is only 22 and still hopes to make it in the NBA, but at this point his higher aim is to raise awareness about the anxiety that has personally plagued him.
"[Mental illness and mental health, and what it means to support it in the right way] is the greatest social issue we face in America, not just sports,” he stated in the interview.
No, the White pick didn't pan out for Houston on the hardwood, but to label him the worst pick of all time seems a little unfair considering the circumstances.
Houston will have many more first round picks, but White only has one career and it's safe to say he is not willingly sabotaging himself.