Cam Whitmore gets real on potential role after winning Summer League MVP

Cam Whitmore played like the leading-5 decide on at Las Vegas Summer time League he was at the time meant to be. The Houston Rockets rookie took home MVP honors of the July festivities in Sin Metropolis, foremost his team to the title game when averaging 19.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2. assists per recreation on workable performance. Not lousy for draft night’s biggest loser, suitable?

But just because Whitmore relished the type of instant Summer time League achievements that occasionally portends stardom hardly usually means he’ll engage in a significant job for the Rockets during his NBA debut. The No. 20 general choice of the draft, in point, looks nearly certain to commit parts of his rookie time in the G League, trapped powering Dillon Brooks, Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, Jae’Sean Tate and fellow initially-spherical pick Amen Thompson on the depth chart as Houston seems to be last but not least climb from the depths of the Western Meeting.

As unofficial preparations for 2023-24 carry on with teaching camp on the horizon, though, Whitmore will yet do all he can to ingratiate himself to new Rockets coach Ime Udoka and his coaching workers.

“I’d say the concentrate for me has been just attempting to study my role. Regardless of what the coaching personnel needs me to do, I’ll do it,” Whitmore instructed The Athletic’s Kelly Iko of his aim top up to the season. “If they mention something to me, I’ll make confident it’s taken treatment of. I’m all ears in schooling camp.”

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His outstanding enjoy at Summer League notwithstanding, Whitmore’s draft-night time drop from a viable solution for Houston at No. 4 in general toward the base of the first spherical is an indication of the steep understanding curve he is poised to deal with at the upcoming degree. Missing the two-way feel and precocious understanding befitting most fast-effect rookies, Whitmore was normally regarded a long-time period enjoy as a draft prospect, groups forced to bet his schematic being familiar with and processing velocity would ultimately capture up to his exceptional mix of actual physical prowess and burgeoning ability.

Summer months League proved that Whitmore previously has the chops to get typical taking part in time in the NBA. On a developing staff with no hopes of nabbing a place in the perform-in tournament, Whitmore would get sufficient run as a first-year player, discovering his way as a ball-mover and crew defender when sopping up utilization with off-dribble jumpers and challenging-charging drives to the rim.

The Rockets have a mandate from owner Tilman Fertitta to consider major strides in 2023-24, even though, 1 likely to push Udoka to prioritize his team’s location in the standings in excess of in-match growth from young players like Whitmore—a dynamic that could direct to diminishing long run returns. Even Thompson, the prime prize of Houston’s rookie course, is sure to have his minutes relatively squeezed by Houston’s glut of playable veterans and proven younger stalwarts.

Either way, Whitmore’s frame of mind is the right just one. Leaning on the urgings of coaches is a prudent solution for any rookie, let alone a 19-year-aged with all the raw, rough-edged expertise to eventually come to be a star.

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