Before I get started, I can't tell you how good it feels to type the words "former Rocket" in front of Royce White's name. I know that the afternoon of July 5 will always be remembered more for Dwight Howard making his decision to come to Houston, but Daryl Morey managing to ship out Royce White was pretty good, too.
If July 5 were a fancy dinner, Dwight's decision was a Porterhouse steak, but the trade of Royce White was a nice bowl of truffled mac and cheese.
Okay, now that that's out of the way (and now that I've made myself freaking hungry), let's get to the latest news regarding Philadelphia 76er forward Royce White.
And it's not so much news as it is opinion.
Every year around this time, ESPN.com puts together its rankings of every NBA player, counting backwards from number 500 all the way up to LeBron James (a lock cinch for number one). On Monday, they started the countdown by releasing the names of players ranked 401 through 500.
The basis of the list, according to the article, is as follows:
This year, we asked our ESPN Forecast panel to predict the overall level of play for each player for the upcoming NBA season. This includes both the quality and the quantity of his expected contributions, combined in one overall rating.
So when it came time for ESPN.com's esteemed panel of NBA experts to forecast just how productive and effective all the human beings who are currently part of the vast ocean of NBA players would be, including dozens who literally will not make a roster out of camp, they determined that the rock-bottom, worst player in all of the league is.....
Royce White! Wow, incredible to think that at this time a year ago, Royce White was a fairly promising prospect coming off of a summer league performance where he actually, y'know, played basketball, which unto itself and in retrospect is a major upgrade over the regular season, which he spent entirely either a) in a bathrobe or b) languishing in the D-League for a month.
Now that promising former first rounder is considered by people with jobs to be the WORST at his job. Number 500!
I'm reminded of a bit from an episode of Seinfeld, the episode where one of Elaine's co-workers falls for George because she (mistakenly) thinks that he's a "bad boy," some kind of quasi-tough guy. Over a cup of coffee, Jerry helps George realize the source of her infatuation, and then proceeds to rattle off all the things that George was actually "bad" at other than "boy"...
But this ranking represents at the very least a tangible reminder that Royce White is now thought to be something we never thought he would be -- a bad basketball player! And this for a guy who is just a couple of months removed from telling his Twitter followers that he is in an elite class when it comes to basketball skills:
A lot of talk... "Cut Royce", "Trade Royce", only a few players with my skill set in the WHOLE league... everybody knows it. #RedNation
— Royce White (@Highway_30) June 30, 2013
Since then, not only has Royce White been traded, but he's now ranked behind something called a Miroslav Raduljica in the eyes of experts who evaluate the league. They even tacked on one of those red "stock down" arrows to Royce's box on the grid, as if to say, "Not only do you suck more than everybody else, but the potential is there for you to suck even more, Royce!!"
Naturally, ESPN.com's rankings didn't escape the tractor beam that is White's social media rabbit ears. He saw and responded in typical Royce White fashion:
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— Royce White (@Highway_30) September 16, 2013
Royce White gets his first crack at trying to climb the list later this month when the Sixers convene at training camp. It's a long, slow climb from number 500. Getting out of his slippers and onto an actual NBA court is a start.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.