Draft preview: Royce White


Last of a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on Thursday. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

From a purely physical standpoint, players like this just don't grow on trees. Royce White possesses a LeBron-like physique, and his skills aren't bad either.

Off the court, White might be the most complex person in the draft. He's had a number of incidents, left Minnesota during his freshman season after being suspended indefinitely, couldn't get on a plane for a recruiting visit to Kentucky because of an anxiety disorder and then nearly led Iowa State to an upset of Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.

He has told NBA personnel that is bad-boy days are over, that he's on the straight and narrow.

For a man his size, White seems to defy the trappings of a single position. He can handle the ball, score from anywhere on the floor, pass it and rebound.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford reported last week that White had ended all workouts and had strangely gone quiet, supposedly having a "promise" from a team that plans to pick him. The team that came to the forefront, Ford reported, was the Boston Celtics at No. 21, and the Atlanta Hawks at No. 23 may have interest, as well.

That means White would be on the board when the Mavs pick. Depending who else is, Dallas might not be able to pass up White's rare package of size and talent.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:


School: Iowa State (1 year)

Position: SF

Age: 21

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-8/261

2011-12 stats: 13.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 53.4% FG

Why he would fit: Dirk Nowitzki has talked till he's blue in the face about needing playmakers, guys that can create their own shot and score the basketball. Not many come with this type of body.

Why he wouldn't fit: At this stage of trying to put a team around Nowitzki that can contend, the Mavs might not want to get involved with a young player dealing with an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Physical, athletic forward ... Point forward type of player ... NBA body, strong ... Can score inside and outside ... Excellent ball-handler ... Great passer for someone his size ... Good rebounder. Down -- Suffers from anxiety disorder ... Has a serious fear of flying ... Off-court issues ... Old for his class ... Inconsistent shooter.

Coop's comment: The comparison you hear most is to former Knick Anthony Mason. Outstanding all-around skills; knows how to get his shot up and score. A superb passer, especially out of the low post. The Mavericks have not had a player who passes this well out of the post since Mark Aguirre. However, he is a poor free throw shooter and there are the huge questions about his fear of flying. He seems to have allayed a lot of fears about that and his dismissal from Minnesota at the combine.

Previous prospects

Terrence Jones, Kentucky

Meyers Leonard, Illinois

Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

Fab Melo, Syracuse

Quincy Miller, Baylor

Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

Austin Rivers, Duke

Terrence Ross, Washington