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The Lakers made a big mistake by not drafting Cam Whitmore

The Los Angeles Lakers got trounced on Monday by the Houston Rockets, 135-119, and just like that, their little spurt of five wins in their previous seven games is effectively over.

They had an alarming lack of energy and effort, as they got outrebounded by a wide margin and were outscored by 24 in fast-break points. Yet again, they came out lackadaisical against a team that was seemingly inferior to them, at least on paper, and got embarrassed.

While Alperen Sengun and Jalem Green scored 31 and 34 points, respectively, for Houston, one player who stood out for it was rookie Cam Whitmore. In the last 2:19 of the first quarter, he went on a personal 12-2 run and turned a one-point lead into a 42-31 advantage. Houston would never even come close to trailing again.

For the game, Whitmore had 20 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. This season, he’s averaging 11.0 points on 48.2% overall shooting and 39.3% from 3-point range in 16.4 minutes per game.

In last June’s draft, the Lakers took guard Jalen Hood-Schifino with the No. 17 pick. One pick later, the Miami Heat selected 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., who is having a very strong rookie year. The Rockets then got Whitmore at No. 20.

After the Lakers got a close look at Whitmore on Monday, it is clear they made a big mistake by not drafting him.

While people were concerned about Whitmore’s medical history on draft day, it has turned into a non-issue, and as the season has worn on, he has seemingly gotten better.

Whitmore could've helped the Lakers in several ways

Right now, one of the Lakers’ biggest position weaknesses is the wing or small forward position. At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, Whitmore can comfortably play both the 3 and 4.

The wings and small forwards L.A. currently has — Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish and Max Christie — are either incomplete or simply mediocre players. They’re only capable of making any real impact on one end of the court, and save for Vanderbilt, none of them bring any real energy.

As Lakers fans witnessed on Monday, Whitmore provides plenty of energy. He’s not only a good 3-point shooter, but he also runs the floor well and finishes strong in transition, and he has plenty of defensive potential as well. The Villanova University product clocked in with a 40.5-inch vertical leap during the draft combine, and he could’ve upgraded the Lakers’ overall athleticism.

Since the Lakers are a fast-breaking team that badly needs 3-point shooting, Whitmore would’ve fit in very well.

Because of the team’s salary cap situation and relative lack of tradable assets, it needs to score a slam dunk on as many of its draft picks as possible. While it has drafted relatively well over the past decade or so, this was one it seems they completely fumbled, especially since Hood-Schifino has so far amounted to nothing.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire