NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam WhitmoreNBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore

Houston will mark the start of Cam Whitmore’s career as a professional basketball player after a longer wait than initially anticipated. Whitmore dropped on draft day after initially being projected to go in the top 10. When he was selected 20th overall in the NBA Draft 2023  on Thursday night in Brooklyn, the 6-foot-7 wing at last heard his name.

NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore
NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore

Whitmore missed the first seven games of the 2022–23 season, but in his only season with the Main Line, he went on to average 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He was named the Big East’s Freshman of the Year.

He is the Wildcats’ most recent first-round pick since the Detroit Pistons selected Saddiq Bey in 2020, and the first pure one-and-done for Villanova since Tim Thomas in 1997.

Prior to Whitmore, Villanova had nine players drafted over the previous ten years, with five other Wildcats leaving in the first round.

Whitmore displayed strong performance at the NBA Draft 2023 Combine and has the metrics to back it up. His maximum vertical leap was 40.5 inches, and his speed and agility tests were good. Additionally, Whitmore has plenty of time for the Rockets to mold him at only 18 years old.

Although he has the potential and a physically fit profile for the NBA, teams felt that his individual team workouts and interviews left little to be desired. His health, intensity, and practice performance were the subject of numerous reports and questions going into Thursday that could have affected his selection night performance. It turned out to be a slide more than most people anticipated.

Whitmore will now be able to put that in the past as he gets ready to make his NBA debut in Houston. The Rockets, one of the NBA’s youngest teams last year, went 22-60 and have a ton of youthful talent, including Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.

What about the draft most surprised you?

Jeff Borzello: It looked a few spots early for Bilal Coulibaly to debut at No. 7. However, Coulibaly’s progress over the past few months rather than just beating off competitors like Jarace Walker, Taylor Hendricks, and Cam Whitmore may have caught people off guard. He was not even a thought earlier in the season, as he was last year at this time. He had been rumored to be selected in the lottery during the previous few weeks, and his projected ceiling only kept climbing up. The Wizards have a lot of promise with their long-term play.

NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore
Jeff Borzello

Tim Bontemps: The decline in trade. On draft night, only two teams—the Sacramento Kings at position 24 and the Boston Celtics at position 25—completely left the first round. The other two deals that took place in the first round were two lottery picks that were switched. It was interesting to see the draft unfold pretty much how it had been planned at the beginning of the night given how open things appeared to be.

NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore
Tim Bontemps

The lack of surprises, says Jonathan Givony. By NBA draft standards, it largely went as predicted, beginning with Brandon Miller being selected second (the worst-kept NBA secret of the past month) and continuing with the fact that we were able to predict 18 of the top 24 picks to the correct team and 28 of the 30 players who ultimately heard their names called in the first round overall. That doesn’t typically occur. The majority of the draft may have been the most predictable we’ve seen in a while, even though a few players did go higher or lower than we predicted.

NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore
Jonathan Givony

The main surprise for me was Jett Howard at No. 11, although it wasn’t completely unexpected, according to Jeremy Woo. We were aware that Orlando needed to add a shooter, and we bet on Howard’s potential to develop into a more dynamic all-around scorer while playing with Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, and now Anthony Black by selecting him over Gradey Dick or Jordan Hawkins. Although it’s not necessarily what I would have done and I didn’t see it coming, this decision stood out in a first round that largely followed our forecasts.

NBA Draft 2023: Rockets Add Versatile Forward in Cam Whitmore
Jeremy Woo

Besides Gradey Dick’s red sequined jacket, Dave McMenamin? centers not being chosen in the first round. There is a case to be made that the three best players in the league are all centers, including Giannis Antetokounmpo (the superstar of the Bucks), Joel Embiid, who won the regular-season MVP award last year, and reigning Finals MVP Nikola Jokic. However, only three centers were selected in the first thirty picks: Victor Wembanyama at No. 1, Dereck Lively II at No. 12, and Noah Clowney at No. 21. And Wembanyama announced he wants to play the 4 with a 5 in the upcoming season.

NBA Draft 2023 By
NBA Draft 2023 By Dave McMenamin

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