Royce White

Houston Rockets first-round pick Royce White would like to play for the team, but until Houston and the league come up with a protocol for treating mental health, White said his chances of never playing in the NBA are “very high.”

By the same token, White does not blame the Rockets for the mental health care impasse that has kept him from playing.

“The reality is that it is not Houston’s fault,” White said on SiriusXM’s “Off the Dribble” show. “As much as we always want to try and blame one side or the other … they’ve been thrown into a position now where they’re forced to make things up as they go because a protocol has not been put in place for mental health up until this point.”

White, the 16th overall pick in the June draft who played well in Summer League but has yet to play in a regular-season NBA game, has a well-known fear of flying, part of a larger anxiety disorder. He and the team have been working with experts to devise an appropriate treatment plan, likely to include some travel by bus or car instead of on the team plane. Repeatedly White has resisted the team’s directives to spend time with the Rockets’ D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

– Reported by Henry Abbott of