ESPN #NBARank Pegs Royce White & Fab Melo As League’s Worst

If you’re part of the NBA’s Twitter illuminati, you’re familiar with the #NBARank where ESPN’s NBA writers, True Hoop bloggers* and analysts vote on the top 500 players in the NBA today. It’s a subjective ranking during a down month before NBA training camps open, and it’s a fun way to drive debate about individual players. ESPN released numbers 500-401 yesterday and have rolled out #401-376 at noon today, but if you’re a fan of embattled former Rocket Royce White or former Syracuse center Fab Melo, you’re probably a little confused.

The 6-7 White came out of Iowa State in 2012 as the No. 16 overall pick of the Rockets in the 2012 Draft. But he did not play during his rookie year with the Rockets. Instead, he suited up for Houston’s Developmental League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In 16 appearances with 8 starts, White averaged 11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in over 25 minutes a game with the Vipers. White has drawn headlines for his anxiety disorder and he’s tweeted extensively about his psychological battles. There was a lot of consternation in Houston around White’s fear of flying, with special contract measures initiated whereby White would drive to some games if it was feasible. But his participation in actual practices and games with the Rockets never materialized.

The Rockets traded White to the Sixers this summer — along with the rights to Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir — in exchange for cash and future draft considerations in an effort to open up cap space for their Dwight Howard signing. Sixers GM Sam Hinkie has already said the deal was made to acquire Aldemir, and so it’s unlikely the Sixers pick up White’s option for 2014-15. If they negate to pick up the third year of his rookie deal, White becomes an expiring contract this year, and the Sixers will probably deal him if they can find any takers before the February deadline.

After the Celtics traded Fab Melo to the Grizzlies this summer, Memphis waived the raw 7-0 former Syracuse center. He cleared waivers and was picked up by the Mavericks who signed him to a fully non-guaranteed training camp contract. Even if Melo fails to make the Mavericks roster this season, the Grizzlies still have to pay him his contract after he was waived.

White is ranked #500 with Melo at #499. Neither has much of a future in the NBA, but with White it’s largely unrelated to basketball, though we’re not sure either should be this low on the list. That said, someone has to tbe at the bottom of their rankings.

*Disclosure: I’m a contributor to the True Hoop blog network.


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