Amen Thompson is a tantalizing prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft. He is a player that many fans may not have ever seen play due to him and his twin brother, Ausar, not taking the collegiate route to the NBA. Instead, they elected to be a part of Overtime Elite - a pro basketball league for 16 to 20-year-olds in Atlanta. I hope this gives you a nice overview of why Amen Thompson is being taken so high in all the mock drafts you are looking at.
Amen is a 20-year-old 6’7” combo guard weighing 200 lbs. As a combo guard, he has a massive 6’9” wingspan and freakish athleticism. This past season for the City Reapers, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks. He shot 56.8% from the field. To put that into perspective, the average field goal percentage in the NBA is 46.6%. Despite overall efficiency from the field, Amen shot just 23% from three this past season and 64% from the free throw line. Depending on how that improves over time will likely determine if Amen will become a star in the league or not.
The Jazz would need their pick to jump higher in the lottery for a realistic shot at landing Amen Thompson, but let's look at his strengths and weakness so you can properly celebrate if the Jazz do take him.
As you can see from the above video, both of the Thompson twins can essentially fly. Amen commonly finds his head level with the rim on huge throw-down dunks. Beyond being high-flying, Amen has elite open-floor speed, a quick first step, and excellent body control.
His athleticism also helps with his defense allowing him to jump passing lanes and take off for a fast-break slam or dish. His athleticism and quick twitch are what help him be such an effective scorer.
Also, here’s one more dunk for good measure:
If you want a dynamic playmaker, look no further. Amen’s size allows him to see the whole court, and he is an extremely accurate passer both on the break and in the half-court. His PER 36 minutes assists are at 7.9. In the league, he could very easily be a consistent triple-double threat.
His size allows him to grab boards, and then he shoots out of a cannon down the court and finds his guys for good looks. That’s a skill set that the Jazz are seeking out.
I already touched on this a bit, but Amen Thompson is an ideal defender due to his size and switchability. He has the length and wingspan to help protect the rim when needed but has the speed and athleticism to guard the perimeter. In a league where that type of switchability is valuable, it is easy to see why he is such a highly touted prospect.
His PER 36 minutes defensive stats look really good, too, with 3.1 steals and one block per game.
The glaring weakness in Amen Thompson’s game is his shooting. On 2.7 3-point attempts per game, Amen only hit 23% of his threes. Oftentimes, if someone doesn’t have a 3-point shot, you can look to free throw percentage, and if the player has a strong number there, it can give you some confidence. Unfortunately for Amen, his free throw percentage is also not great at just 64%.
Maybe the spacing in the league helps him out, and this isn’t to say he can’t improve, but as of now, his shooting could hold him back from reaching a superstar-type level in the league.
Despite being a fantastic playmaker and ball handler, Amen can get a little loose with the ball at times, resulting in turnovers. He averaged 3.2 turnovers per game, and when adjusted PER 36 minutes, that increases to 4.1. That is something he will have to clean up at the next level.
Lack of experience:
Amen does not have a lack of experience playing basketball, but he does have a lack of experience playing against some of the top talents in the country. It can be a little harder to know for sure what you are getting without a collegiate background.
Honestly, this weakness is nitpicky. It may not make a difference, but the NCAA season and tournament have an effect on how teams view prospects. With how explosive the twins are, I don’t think it hurts them much in this case.
Amen Thompson is a guy that would fit very nicely on the Jazz. Coach Hardy would warmly welcome his playmaking, defense, and rim attack.
Amen could be a really impactful player even without a solid jump shot, but it would put a hard limit on his ceiling. The skies are the limit if he can develop a consistent jump shot.
The Jazz would have to get lucky to get a shot at him, but if they do, I would be surprised if they pass up on the opportunity.