The forgettable 2022-23 season is in the books for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Looking ahead, hope is on the horizon in the form of the NBA Draft Lottery. Can Portland catch a break and land the top overall selection? Even if the Blazers land close to where their current odds suggest, there are plenty of opportunities for General Manager Joe Cronin to add talent to the roster or a trade package on draft night.
Our first draft profile of the season focused on the ultimate prize, French center Victor Wembanyama. Today we cover another potential lottery pick, Amen Thompson. He is a guard that possesses size and versatility. After thriving in Overtime Elite, Thompson is poised to come off the board early on draft night.
- Height: 6’7”
- WT: 209
- Wingspan: 6’9”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: PG
- Age: 20
- Projected draft range: 3-5
- PTS: 16.4 | Per 40: 23.8
- AST: 5.9 | Per 40: 8.6
- REB: 5.9 | Per 40: 8.6
- STL: 2.3 | Per 40: 3.4
- FG%: 56.6
- 3P%: 25.0
- FT%: 65.6
Amen Thompson is a dynamic athlete with superior size for a lead guard. Last season, Thompson led the City Reapers’ potent offense through the Overtime Elite field. Thompson’s offensive strengths start at the point of attack. Don’t let his lanky frame fool you, Thompson is an explosive athlete. Thompson utilizes blinding acceleration to slice through opposing defenses. Along with his first step, Thompson possesses an impressive arsenal of dribble moves to torch defenders. His crossover dribble and side-to-side movement might be the best in the 2023 class.
Once Thompson slips past his defender, his 6-foot-7 frame and leaping ability pave the way for high-flying dunks. Thompson quickly elevates off either foot and he does not require an open lane to launch into the air. After leaving the floor, Thompson glides and manages to stay airborne longer than those attempting to contest his shot. When he isn’t going for a dunk, Thompson routinely finds the right angle to complete contested layups.
Outside of his own scoring chances, Thompson utilizes his expert court vision and passing ability to pick apart defenses. Thompson is regularly one step ahead of the defense with the ball in his hands. Whether it is completing a pass over the top of a smaller defender or quickly changing directions to find an open shooter while slicing through the lane, Thompson is extremely accurate. Thompson delivers passes on the mark at velocities that leave defenses helpless. His towering stature at guard allows him to find open targets in traffic inside pick-and-roll sets. In the open floor, Thompson is seemingly unstoppable.
Amen Thompson's vision and passing ability is underrated pic.twitter.com/CauSnyJ3iG— Overtime Elite (@OvertimeElite) December 24, 2022
Defensively, Thompson is an effective on-ball defender. His nimble footwork allows him to close distances effortlessly and stick with opponents. Once he is in range, Thompson has the rare ability to stay disciplined and pursue steal opportunities. Buoyed by his size and athleticism, Thompson has the potential to guard multiple positions at the next level.
Thompson is a limited shooter, which allows defenses to shift their attention elsewhere in half-court sets. Throughout the Overtime Elite schedule, Thompson was dared to shoot and he rarely made opponents pay for that decision. Unfortunately, Thompson’s subpar free throw percentage and current shooting mechanics combine to form a less-than-ideal projection for future improvements in this area. Due to these struggles, Thompson is going to face clear difficulties maintaining offensive relevancy when the action on the court slows down.
Thompson was a marquee player in both his seasons inside Overtime Elite. Acting as the primary facilitator for the City Reapers squad, Thompson led the league in assists per game and finished inside the top 10 in scoring. Led by the dynamic play of Thompson, and his twin Ausar, the City Reapers secured a 14-1 record and the Overtime Elite title.
Thompson’s height, playing style, and lack of shooting attract obvious comparisons to former lottery picks Ben Simmons and LaMelo Ball. Thompson possesses the passing acumen of Ball, a trait that led the current Hornet to NBA Rookie of the Year honors. On defense, Thompson has all the dominant traits that led to Simmons’ early-career success with the 76ers. Outside of the positives, Thompson’s shooting concerns could lead to the offensive futility that plagues Simmons.
Without a reliable offensive skill once the action slows down in half-court sets, Thompson runs the risk of imploding the floor spacing for his teammates. In order to maintain his effectiveness on offense at this point in his development, he will need the ball in his hands. Defensively, Thompson has all the tools to blossom into a difference maker at multiple positions in the NBA.
Thompson’s fit on Damian Lillard’s timeline is far from ideal. If it was a handful of years ago, adding a guard with plus size that plays defense would have been an ideal match for Portland. However, Thompson will likely need time to adjust to NBA competition and work out his offensive deficiencies.
Looking to the future, Thompson is an extremely interesting fit next to Shaedon Sharpe. Both players have stellar size at their respective positions and they both possess unbelievable athleticism. Offensively, Sharpe has the traits to cover for Thompson’s weaknesses. On defense, Thompson can tackle the most cumbersome matchups on any given night.
As a trade piece, Thompson has the blend of size and athleticism that teams covet. A team seeking to reboot its roster could easily view Thompson as a project capable of blossoming into a foundational player.