Daryl Morey is making Anthony Bennett blush.
During a question-and-answer session with Houston Rockets season ticket holders, the team's general manager divulged a goldmine of information. His responses were made available by Twitter user @MiggysWorld35, who was present at the discussion, and relayed by ClutchFans.net's Ben DuBose.
"I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever," cracked Morey, via DuBose. "He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe. It just shows we swing for the fence."
Not the average take on White's career, but it is enough to draw attention away from Bennett, who was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013 and is already tracking toward being one of the worst first-round selections ever.
Morey's attitude is admirable and slightly surprising considering he used a first-rounder on a forward with anxiety issues who never played a minute of regular-season basketball. Perhaps it's easier to joke about now that he's not Houston's headache anymore.
White spent most of his rookie season battling the Rockets on a number of issues, waging a war that he frequently deemed bigger than basketball. Problem was, his approach wasn't constructive. Twitter explosions and public displays of that ilk destroyed his image.
As yours truly wrote last November:
White needs to understand that this shouldn't just be about his health issues, being rich or broke or proving a point. This should be about his future and his potential as not only an athlete, but a captivating and empowering role model.
Instead, though, this is rapidly becoming a case of "what could have been" and "where it all went wrong."
And the only person who has the ability to change that is currently doing everything in his power to make sure that will never happen.
It was a shame, really. White was in a unique position to help educate the NBA and all professional sports on the importance of mental health and how it should be accommodated, not buried.
Some of the stuff he said made sense too, allowing you to believe his heart was in the right place, however inappropriate his actions seemed.
"Mental health is talked about in such hush-hush tones," White told USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt last February, adding:
You have people who are starting to face the stigma and are now finally admitting they have a mental health disorder. That helps other people with anxiety see that there are people who deal with it and it helps everybody else in society see how prevalent it is.
Sadly, it just didn't work out for White or the Rockets.
Houston did indeed swing for the fences, rolling the dice on a versatile forward who was among the most touted talents coming out of the 2012 draft. Morey took a chance, passing on players such as Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones III, Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli, hoping that White could develop into a sound point forward.
Failing doesn't seem to have impacted his sense of humor, at least. Sounds like he can sleep just fine knowing he and the Rockets tried.
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