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Charania: Amen Thompson a Live Possibility for Trail Blazers in NBA Draft

Under the right circumstances, Portland may depart from the consensus Top 3.

2023 NBA Draft Combine Portraits Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers might opt for Amen Thompson instead of Brandon Miller if Scoot Henderson doesn’t fall to them in the 2023 NBA Draft. That claim was made by NBA news-breaker Shams Charania, speaking on the Pat McAfee show on ESPN this morning. McAfee tweeted clips from the interview in which Charania indicated that the Blazers are the most likely upper-lottery team to contemplate trading their pick, also the most likely to depart from the consensus Top 3 selections, depending on the order players are taken.

Portland holds the third pick in the draft. The San Antonio Spurs are universally expected to select center Victor Wembanyama first overall. The Charlotte Hornets have been rumored to favor forward Miller, whose defensive game and star potential will help them more than would Henderson, a highly-touted point guard. The Hornets already start LaMelo Ball at point guard, leading to a positional conflict should they select Henderson. Despite fielding All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, the Blazers would likely scoop up Scoot at the three spot should he fall there, hoping to trade him later or letting him develop into their next-generation floor leader.

If the Hornets select Henderson instead, Charania suggests that Miller is not an automatic choice for the Blazers, as forward Amen Thompson had an outstanding pre-draft workout in Portland.

The video is here:

Our scouting review of the 6’7 Thompson praises his strong defense, dribbling and scoring ability, and fantastic athleticism. It also offers this:

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.

Thompson draws comparisons to former lotter picks Ben Simmons and LaMelo Ball, with shooting tagged as his biggest potential weakness, defense and shot-creation his huge upsides.