... just not the summer league we all want to see him play in.
Royce White agreed to play a game in the Capital City Summer League in Des Moines, Iowa since he can't play on the Sixers Summer League team yet, as his trade to the Sixers is not quite official. This is the summer league that the current Iowa State and Drake University players compete in during the offseason. For those of you unaware, Royce played at Iowa State, which is just thirty or so minutes north of Des Moines, so there is still quite the rabid Royce White following here. (believe me, it's RABID)
* If you only have time to read one paragraph, please scroll down to the next asterisks... and if you only have time to read one official article from a marginal newspaper, click on this link: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130710/SPORTS020604/130710038/Royce-White-returns-to-YMCA-Capital-City-Leagu
Even though I am not an Iowa State fan, I'm a devoted Sixers fan and the game was held just down the street from my house, so I trotted on down. An unbelievably large crowd showed up for the game--I guarantee more than the NBA is drawing for Summer League games (I've been in Vegas for Summer League, this dwarfed Vegas). Everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting to see ROYCE WHITE. The Iowa State Cyclone Hero. The ENIGMA.
And they continued to wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, Royce showed up. Long after the 5:30 PM CST official start of the game. So of course, they delayed the game until after 5:45 so Royce could get his one or two practice layups in... Local radio and TV stations were even there doing LIVE broadcasts... The gall of Royce to prance in there like he owned the place. Naw, I'm kidding. That's exactly what I would've done in his spot. Like THE BOSS milking the anticipation of the crowd until they built themselves into a frenzy... But instead of a frenzy, it was just a sweaty mess. The high school apparently didn't realize a couple thou would show up, so they didn't bother amping up the A/C. The B.O. in there was UNBEARABLE.
Anyway, back to the action..
My quick summary would be that Royce didn't look TOO out of shape...
---- (aside) I'm not an Iowa State Cyclone fan, so I haven't been worshiping at his feet the last 3-4 years. I'm an Iowa Hawkeye, yes we are different. Don't forget that. The Hawks are good at football (typically) and getting better at basketball. The Cyclones are bad at football and also getting better at basketball under Fred Hoiberg.---
.... (back from the aside) Royce played mostly point-forward in the game. He brought the ball up almost every possession. He's a natural ball-handler and facilitator. Better than most point guards. But he's like MCW--he'll create a lot of scoring opportunities, but probably commit a lot of TOs.
He dished a lot of no-look passes and found open guys for threes, but he missed his own share of threes. Don't expect him to come in and make anything outside 15 feet with any sort of consistency. He did end up scoring 32 points in the game, but it was not a pretty shooting display. It wasn't until the last 3-4 minutes that he started knocking down his threes and outside jumpers... and free throws (he was surprised when he got fouled on a three and knocked down all three chances). Royce's value is not in scoring, but in creating scoring opportunities for teammates. As another aside, Royce was matched up against Percy Gibson, who's Iowa State's sophomore big man. Percy hasn't done much in the Big12 yet, but he looks like someone who has a future, at least playing internationally or in the D-League.
* Royce's value to the Sixers is not scoring for himself, but in his unique talent (outside of LeBron) of facilitating from the 4 position. I hate to throw this out there, but it's ERVIN MAGIC JOHNSON-ESK. His court-vision is readily apparent, even just watching him play against current-and-past D-1 and D-2 players. He can find the wing with the open shot on the break or from the post. It really is a sight to see, even if the rest of his schtick rubs you--and me--the wrong way. I disagree with anyone that thinks Hinkie doesn't have a plan for Royce because this seems like the perfect pick-up for a team that is planning on tanking/building this year and EXPLODING next year and the year after. I am very excited about the direction of this team and hope that Royce is excited as well.
------- And oh yeah, 61 of the 82 games for the Sixers in 2013-14 are either at home or within a short train ride, so this is a completely different situation than Houston, and Hinkie knows that very well. And Royce knows that as well. He has recently acknowledged that... This past year has been hard on him and he's ready to get back out there. So Dei Lynam can suck it. She doesn't know anything about what Hinkie is thinking. Royce will be a part of next year's team. Guaranteed.
Justin Holiday, not-so-much.