NBA Draft 2023: Cam Whitmore and his fit with the Indiana Pacers
One player who has quietly moved up draft boards all season and is a solidified top-ten pick in this draft is Cam Whitmore.
One player who has quietly moved up draft boards all season and is a solidified top-ten pick in this draft is Cam Whitmore. As it stands currently, the Indiana Pacers have the best chance at the 7th pick in this draft. This is right around where I believe Whitmore could land if the draft was today.
The Indiana Pacers will have lots of draft capital for the 2023 NBA Draft. They are in one of the best positions with three first-round picks and two seconds, which they may or may not keep. This gives them great flexibility and significant ammunition in trade possibilities.
Trades are something I think Indiana is going to attempt with some of their picks this season. Pacers’ President Kevin Pritchard has been open about this sentiment in multiple press conferences. He does not want to add five new “kids” to this roster. I think they will try for a veteran wing-type player like OG Anunoby or Obi Toppin and attempt a playoff push next season.
I see the top seven in this draft being Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller, Jarace Walker, the Thompson Twins, and Cam Whitmore. If Indiana is picking around seventh, then Whitmore is a prospect you need to get to know.
Cam Whitmore and the Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers need wings and they will go after one in some capacity this offseason — draft, free agency, or both. Even if they make a trade for one, they need depth at the position. They have Nwora who really sprung forward to the end last season, but he is their only true wing with the size. Not to mention his shooting.
So why Cam Whitmore?
Cam Whitmore is a 6’7’’ Wing from Villanova who weighs 232 pounds and is just 18 (!) years old. To me, age is why he is one of the most intriguing prospects. He is young, but that is a story his tape does not often tell.
Whitmore is an athletic powerhouse who can score, shot-create, and has promising defensive traits. He can shoot the ball well and his shot release improved over the course of his Villanova season.
Freshman season stats: 12.5 points | 5.3 rebounds | 1.4 steals | 34.4 3P% (4+ att) | 47.8 FG% | 72% FT
Bringing Whitmore off the bench in year one would not be a bad thing with his age, but he has starting upside. If Indiana is to get a trade for a proven wing this offseason — you feel even better about adding real depth in the wing spot. Then you go from Nesmith, Nwora, and Brissett to veteran wing X, Nwora, and Whitmore. To me, it is an upgrade.
Whitmore’s strengths and areas for improvement
His strengths include rebounding, set shooting, driving/cutting, and his overall athleticism is a plus. He excels at cutting to the rim, and he pairs it with a strong ability to finish shots at the rim. Similar to Mathurin in this regard.
Along with his driving, his perimeter shooting and creation one-on-one stand out on film. He can create separation and looks comfortable operating at the top of the key. Again he is going to be turning 19 years old in Summer League.
Watch these Highlights and let me know if you would want to see him share the court with Tyrese Haliburton:
With highlights for any player, there are also some lowlights.
Where he can improve is similar to where Bennedict Mathurin was in college. Whitmore can have tunnel vision at times, and when he makes up his mind to score, he goes for it. This is also true with passing plays. Sometimes in the post, he would reach for a pass that was maybe open a few seconds prior, but not when the ball is thrown.
His defense has flashes of being able to switch hips and move with whomever he’s guarding. With his frame, I don’t think it will be difficult to improve the defensive movement. To me, some of his lapses go back to age and most of the time he is able to make a shot challenging.
At the NBA level, defense is just as important as offense, and that’s even more true in a Rick Carlisle system. Ask Andrew Nembhard, who started a majority of games because he can defend well.
In ball-handling situations, you want to trust that he can see the situation ahead of him, and find the right read. Whitmore has a good frame and a defensive upside with active hands on the ball.
His off-ball presence is scary good and is something teams will have to be fully aware of on both ends of the floor. He can make you pay both at the rim and behind the arc with a high ceiling. If the Indiana Pacers are on the clock and Whitmore is an option, I have a hard time passing on this talented prospect.
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