HOUSTON – Cam Whitmore, the Houston Rockets' other first-round draft pick, refuses to be overshadowed.
Much of the buzz surrounding the Rockets the past few weeks focused on the addition of No. 4 overall pick Amen Thompson. However, it’s been Whitmore — who fell to the 20th spot in the NBA draft — turning heads in the Summer League after Thompson went down with an ankle injury.
Whitmore had 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting in Thursday night’s win over Golden State, including three 3-pointers and a handful of emphatic dunks. He also had a Summer League record-tying eight steals as the Rockets (4-0) secured one of the four playoff spots.
The Summer League semifinals are Sunday with the championship game on Monday in Las Vegas.
At one point, the 6-foot-7 Whitmore was considered one of the best two-way players in this year's draft and a potential top-five pick after earning Big East Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman at Villanova. He averaged 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals on 47.8% shooting from the field.
There was speculation that medical concerns may have led to Whitmore's slide in the draft, although nothing was made public.
Regardless, Whitmore seems out to prove not only is he healthy but he deserved to be a lottery pick. He's averaging 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in four games. His 3.5 steals per game are tied for the most in the Summer League.
He’s looking like a huge steal for the Rockets.
“The game is slowing down for me,” Whitmore said. “My teammates are finding me and I’m finding my teammates. I’m learning the plays and learning where I’m supposed to be on the court.”
The Rockets won just 22 games last season, tied for the second-fewest in the league. They wound up picking fourth overall and took Thompson, who figures to be a major part of the rotation.
But Whitmore is looking like a rookie who could figure into the mix once the regular season arrives, too.
WIZARDS 105, THUNDER 89
Johnny Davis scored 22 points, first-round pick Bilal Coulibaly added 19 and Washington beat Oklahoma City.
Davis shot 9 of 17, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, for the Wizards (2-2). Coulibaly, the seventh pick in this year’s draft, added four rebounds, four blocks and three assists. Ryan Rollins pitched in with 15 points and seven assists. Dejan Vasiljevic scored 14 points off the bench, hitting 4 of 5 shots from distance.
Jared Butler scored 22 points for the Thunder (2-2). Ousmane Dieng added 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Cason Wallace, the 10th overall pick, hit two 3-pointers and scored 10. Second-rounder Keyontae Johnson had nine points and six boards in a start.
CLIPPERS 102, 76ERS 91
Kobe Brown scored 35 points to propel Los Angeles to a victory over Philadelphia.
Brown, the final selection of the first round, shot 13 of 19, including 7 of 10 from beyond the arc, for the Clippers (3-1). He added eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. Xavier Moon scored 17 points. Second-round pick Jordan Miller started, scoring four points with seven rebounds and three assists.
Jaden Springer scored 15 to lead five players in double figures for the 76ers (1-3), who did not have a pick in the draft.
KNICKS 97, CELTICS 89
Charlie Brown Jr. scored 27 points, Trevor Keels added 20 and New York beat Boston.
Brown made 10 of 16 shots, including 5 of 9 from distance, for the Knicks (2-2). He also had seven rebounds and five assists. Keels did his damage on 7-of-10 shooting with four 3-pointers.
Dalano Banton scored 18 to lead six players in double figures for the Celtics (1-3). Banton added nine rebounds.
Neither team had a selection in this year’s draft.
MAVERICKS 112, PACERS 91
A.J. Lawson scored 24 points, Jordan Walker added 21 off the bench and Dallas cruised past Indiana.
Lawson hit 10 of 12 shots with two 3-pointers for the Mavericks (3-1). Walker handed out eight assists. First-round picks Dereck Lively and Olivier-Maxence Prosper both started. Lively finished with nine points and eight boards, while Prosper scored 18 points. Lively was the 12th overall pick and Prosper was selected with the 24th.
First-round choices Jarace Walker - 8th overall — and Ben Sheppard - 26th overall — started for the Pacers (2-2). Sheppard led with 19 points. Walker scored 13 with five rebounds. Second-round selections Isaiah Wong and Mojave King came off the bench to score six and five, respectively,
JAZZ 97, SUNS 93
Johnny Juzang scored 24 points, Luka Samanic added 22 and Utah rallied to beat Phoenix and remain unbeaten.
The Jazz (4-0) opened the fourth quarter with a 17-5 run to take an 81-77 lead with 6:08 remaining.
Grant Sherfield scored 10 straight points for Phoenix, putting the Suns (1-3) back on top 87-84 at the 3:48 mark. Keshawn Justice scored on a layup, Juzang hit two jumpers and a 3-pointer and the Jazz retook the lead 93-87 with 2:19 to go and never trailed again.
Sherfield topped the Suns (1-3) with 23 points. Second-rounder Toumani Camara, the Suns’ only pick in the draft, finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a start.
Utah’s three first-round picks — Taylor Hendricks (ninth overall), Keyonte George (16th) and Brice Sensabaugh (28th) were all inactive.
GRIZZLIES 100, LAKERS 69
David Roddy scored 21 points, Jake LaRavia added 20 and Memphis started fast and never looked back in a victory over Los Angeles.
LaRavia scored 14 in the first half for the Grizzlies (2-2) and second-round pick Gregory (GG) Jackson came off the bench to score 10 of his 15, helping Memphis turn a 24-9 lead after one quarter into a 51-22 advantage at halftime.
LJ Figueroa led the Lakers (2-2) with 15 points, while Cole Swider scored 14 with nine rebounds. Jalen Hood-Schifino, the 17th overall pick, scored eight on 3-of-17 shooting. Second-rounder Maxwell Lewis scored eight on 3-of-9 shooting with five boards.
NUGGETS 112, HEAT 81
Hunter Tyson scored 31 points, first-round pick Julian Strawther added 23 and Denver routed Miami.
Tyson buried 11 of 13 shots, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range, for the Nuggets (1-3). Strawther sank 7 of 13 shots — 4 of 7 from distance — and added six rebounds and four assists. Second-rounder Jalen Pickett finished with 11 points and four assists in a start.
Jamaree Bouyea paced the Heat (2-2) with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists. Patrick Gardner made four 3-pointers and scored 14. Jaime Jaquez Jr., the 18th overall pick, has not played in the event because of a shoulder injury.
PISTONS 79, SPURS 73
Detroit rode first-round picks Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser to a victory over San Antonio.
Thompson, the fifth overall selection, finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons (3-1). Sasser, taken at No. 25, added 10 points. Malcolm Cazalon scored 16.
Sasser sank a floater to give Detroit a 71-69 lead with 3:52 remaining. Thompson hit 1 of 2 free throws and then grabbed a Sasser miss and scored to put the Pistons up by five. Sasser made 5 of 14 shots but missed all seven of his 3-point attempts and all three of his foul shots.
Dominick Barlow paced the Spurs (2-2) with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Second-rounder Sidy Cissoko started, scoring six points with five rebounds and two blocks. The Spurs sat Victor Wembanyama, the top pick in this year’s draft, after the first two games. ___