‘Bomb-proof’ prospect emerges as top steel pick in 2023 draft
Whitmore’s rise has been remarkable.
The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 135-119 in the 2023-2024 NBA regular season at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday (Jan. 30).
The game was highlighted by two young prospects, Draymond Green and Alpern Sengun, who combined for 34 points and 12 rebounds and 31 points and 12 rebounds to become the youngest duo in the NBA to record 30+ points and 10+ rebounds in the same game.
While Green and Sengun’s performances were crucial, there was one other prospect who helped the Rockets. Cam Whitmore, the 20th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Whitmore scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes of action. In just 18 minutes of action, he scored 20 points and showed off his offensive prowess. Whitmore is a young player, born in 2004, who is not yet in his 20s. He became the first NBA teenager to play 10 minutes in the first half and score 15 or more points.
The game wasn’t the end of Whitmore’s performance.
Despite being named the MVP of the Summer League, Whitmore was not trusted by head coach Ime Udoka. After spending the first part of the season in the G-League, Whitmore didn’t receive a first-team opportunity until 2024.
Since receiving playing time, Whitmore has really come into his own. In his last six games, Whitmore is averaging 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. He’s also shooting over 50% from the field in all but two games.
While his offense hasn’t been spectacular, his defense has left something to be desired, but you can’t ask for much more from a rookie. Whitmore has emerged as a savior for a Houston team that has struggled with bench scoring.
It’s no wonder he was selected as late as the 20th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, when he was a top-five prospect.
After the draft, news of Whitmore’s declining value was that he flunked his tryout and interview. NBA teams bring prospects in the draft to their training facility for a private skills test and interview. This is where Whitmore flunked.
NBA teams passed on Whitmore because of his questionable character and skills, and the Rockets snatched him up with a fishbowl.
In the end, it’s a win-win for Whitmore and Houston. Whitmore was selected by a team that utilizes him well, and Houston got lucky with a prospect they couldn’t get at No. 20.
With a breakout rookie season under his belt, Whitmore is still a young teenage prospect. The potential is there.