2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks dream draft choice falls, Rockets shock at 4

2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama
2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama / Christian Liewig - Corbis/GettyImages
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4. Houston Rockets grab Cam Whitmore

Most have Amen Thompson heading to Houston with this selection, which the Rockets are also rumored to be shopping, but what if James Harden returns to Space City? Thompson is a 6’7 playmaker with a questionable jumper. Harden will dominate the ball, so Houston should be focused on finding a two-way wing.

The Rockets ranked 29th in defensive rating last season, and Harden is not going to improve them on that end of the floor. It is why Amen Thompson makes some sense, but Whitmore is 6’6 with the potential to be an above-average NBA 3-point shooter quickly. He made 34.3 percent of his 108 attempts during his lone season at Villanova and his jumper continues to improve.

Whitmore is a plus athlete that does not 19 until July, and his upside has scouts intrigued. He could end up as the second-best player in this class if he reaches his ceiling. The former Wildcat has the potential to become an elite scorer, impactful defender, and secondary creator if things break correctly, and that would leave the Rockets kicking themselves for passing on him at four.

This is where the draft becomes wide-open. There are several names drawing consideration at four and that group goes all the way to 11. Will Houston make this pick? It could be the first surprise of the 2023 NBA Draft.