Latest Rockets Summer League news could be game-changer for fan favorite

2023 NBA Summer League - Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets
2023 NBA Summer League - Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

After two games of overall dominance in the Summer League, the Houston Rockets announced that they will likely be shutting down Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason (womp, womp, womp).

The former Rockets first-round picks had Rockets fans tuning into the Summer League with excitement, as the duo created highlight after highlight. From game-winning buzzer beaters to ruthless trash talk to posterizing dunks, the duo has been must-see TV in Vegas.

All in all, Smith and Eason have combined for 58.5 of the Rockets' 106.5 points (which ranks second in the NBA), 16.5 rebounds, and eight assists per game. It goes without saying that the Rockets will be losing a significant chunk of their production.

Latest Rockets Summer League news could be game-changer for fan favorite

And it doesn't help that fourth-overall pick Amen Thompson has also been ruled out for the remainder of the Summer League games, due to an ankle injury that Thompson sustained in his debut in Vegas. But the absences of the three could be advantageous for the Rockets' other first-round pick- former Villanova standout Cam Whitmore.

Heading into the draft, the Rockets were very high on Whitmore and even considered selecting him over Thompson with the fourth pick. The Rockets also explored trading up in the draft, in hopes of selecting Whitmore, but were ultimately able to land their guy with the 20th pick, due to an unexpected draft day slide.

Whitmore struggled quite a bit in the Rockets' Summer League opener, as he seemingly took the court eager to prove that he shouldn't have fallen that low in the draft. Whitmore finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Portland Trail Blazers, although he went 5-of-18 from the floor.

Whitmore had a much better showing in the Rockets' second Summer League game, as he went 9-of-16 against the Detroit Pistons and finished with 21 points. Whitmore's long-range shots were falling (3-of-7 from deep) and posted an insanely high true shooting percentage of 64 percent.

Whitmore figures to get significantly more shots with Eason and Smith out of the fold, as the duo combined for 41 shots per contest. Through two games, Whitmore is averaging 17.5 points, 6 rebounds, and two assists, while also showing flashes of promise.

Here's to Whitmore making the most of Eason and Smith's absence for the remainder of the Summer League.