Heading into the 2023 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets appeared to be undecided on what to do with the fourth overall pick. The Rockets were highly interested in Amen Thompson of the Overtime Elite, but were also very fond of Villanova's Cam Whitmore.
The Rockets were ultimately able to walk away with both, as Whitmore slid to the 20th pick, where the franchise nabbed him. Whitmore starred in the Summer League, as he took home the MVP trophy, averaging 20.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.2 steals, while leading the Rockets to the championship game.
Whitmore was assigned to the Rio Grande Vipers, the Rockets' G-League affiliate, as Rockets coach Ime Udoka decided that he wasn't quite ready to crack the Rockets' rotation and could use the reps in the G-League to further develop his game.
Whitmore's talent has been on display, as he's further shown why he was once considered a top-five talent in his draft class.
Whitmore's impressive performances have drawn the attention of Chris Vernon, the co-host of The Mismatch podcast of The Ringer, as Vernon couldn't stop praising the 19-year-old rookie.
Houston Rockets rookie prospect draws rave reviews.
"My producer who calls the Memphis Hustle games, they played the Rio Grande Valley Vipers over the weekend. The texts he sent me, he was like 'Oh my God, Cam Whitmore.' He played two games over the weekend, and I mean, big time in both. Whitmore is just like a different caliber of athlete than what's there on regular occasions. He's a possible special talent too."
Whitmore has averaged 24 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2 steals, 49 percent from the field, 48.4 percent from long-range, and 83 percent from the free throw line. His playmaking has been arguably his most impressive feat, as he wasn't viewed as a creator or facilitator for others in college, which could prove to be beneficial for a Rockets team in need of a secondary creator and scorer off the bench.
Vernon also shared his thoughts on the Rockets' surprising early success thus far.
"I don't think this Rockets thing is like an early season swoon. I think they're good. I do. I think that Ime has them playing, there's a lot of things they do that I think could be replicated. I think there's a reasonable chance they're like a big surprise."
The scary part is that the Rockets haven't been fully healthy yet, as they're currently without Amen Thompson and just got Tari Eason back two games ago.
And Whitmore hasn't even carved out a significant role with the franchise yet.
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