The Houston Rockets struck draft gold on draft night by not only getting one projected top-five player in Amen Thompson, but they were also able to get two top-five talents, as Cam Whitmore, to the surprise of many, fell to the 20th pick, and the Rockets didn't waste any time.
The Rockets introduced both Thompson and Whitmore on Monday, and both have chosen their numbers. Thompson will go with number one, which was worn by players like Trevor Ariza and, more famously, Tracy McGrady, and Whitmore will wear number seven, which has been worn by everyone from Jeremy Lin to Armoni Brooks.
Here are a few observations I came away with while I was out covering the press conference.
Amen and Cam are confident players heading into their rookie seasons
During Monday's press conference, Thompson was asked what he thought would be said about his career when he retires.
"Hopefully, a lot of championships," Thompson would say, "MVPs and championships."
Thompson also was asked about the skepticism people had about OTE, the league both he and his brother Ausar played in, and Thompson had this to say.
"I am not just an OTE athlete, I am not just an OTE player. I was a great player before I went to OTE.”
That is an excellent response to a common criticism of players in OTE, as Amen and his brother were on everyone's radar before they even got to OTE, something Rafael Stone pointed out.
Whitmore talked about having that chip on his shoulder and how they can change things around in Houston. Both players will not have any issues playing their first games in the NBA and won't be too scared of the moment.
Both players will work on their weaknesses this offseason
Every player has weaknesses coming into the NBA, from pick number one to the final pick. I asked Thompson and Whitmore what they would be working on this offseason.
Amen Thompson said:
“My shot in general and my in-between game. Just playing my pace and not getting rushed.”
Cam Whitmore said:
“My midrange game, that was an area at my time in college that I didn't find the right time to get my middies. My midrange, find my spot in between the perimeter. That’s something I have to improve on. Which I think I have.”
Both players have self-awarness about what they need to work on, which is important for any player, especially rookies coming into the NBA. To be able to to take the next step from great college or a great player in leagues outside the NBA to a solid to good rookie is being able to improve your game in the offseason. Both players seemed to be well on their way to improving any weakneses in their overall game.
The Rockets offseason is just getting started, as they are preparing for free agency, which will go a long way in deteriming how the season will play out in 2023-24. Make sure to follow The Dream Shake and myself all off season as we will bring you all the latest news.