In the latest edition of The Ringer’s mock draft, they have the Washington Wizards selecting Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson. They also have the Wizards picking fourth overall which is probably not going to happen.
Thompson is a combo guard who is big enough to play the shooting guard position but has the skill set of an athletic point guard. He is the latest member of the freak athlete class that seems to hold many of the most popular players in the league.
He is averaging 17.2 points, 9.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game in the G-League. Respectable stats for a draft prospect. He is not overly efficient though at 45.2% from the field, 30% from three, and 77.4% from the line. Although he has shown a willingness to alter his shot mechanics to improve, nothing has come to fruition just yet.
The ever-popular “shades of” section by Kevin O’Connor refers to the 20-year-old as “tall Ja Morant” and “Beanpole Zion Williamson. Something clearly said to get a laugh out of the audience. However, every player is different, so let’s take a look at Thompson’s skill set.
Amen Thomson could be a legitimate star at the NBA level.
While this is true for most top five picks in the draft, Amen Thompson has a bit of an extra boost as an uber athletic point guard. Players that fit that archetype tend to be ridiculously popular. From Jaden Ivey to John Wall, Derrick Rose to Ja Morant, there are plenty of stars and rising stars that gain a popularity boost just from being athletic guards.
Now what potentially sets Thompson apart from players like Ivey or Wall is his height. Ahead of the combine, he is listed at six foot seven. Nearly every player that fits his description is six foot three. That automatically sets him apart from the competition.
He is capable of making the right play nearly every time. It’s like he watches the game in third person and is able to find the right pass and hit his teammate with a precise pass every time.
Any fastbreak opportunity is golden for him as he is one of the quickest players in the draft. He excels at his full court play and can be a spark plug for whatever team he ends up on.
On top of all that he provides on offense, he is also an excellent defender for his position. He has lateral quickness, size, and puts effort forth. Combine that with his speed and unreal vertical leap and his presence is felt on that end.
No player is perfect, so what are Amen Thompson’s weaknesses?
Despite his speed and athleticism, he has limited ability to create for himself. This limits his production in a halfcourt set and could be problematic combined with some of his other bigger weak areas.
Thompson is also not a good shooter at all. He hits only 30% of his threes and is an average free throw shooter. This hold him back from being an elite scorer at the NBA level until he adds at least some form of a jumper.
He is also pretty thin weighing only 200 lbs at six foot seven. This could limit his ability to force his way through defenses. Although, there are a number of players who have a wiry strength to them and Thomson could absolutely be one of those guys.
How would Amen Thompson fit with the Washington Wizards?
His fit with the current roster, along with the players who are most likely returning next year is actually fantastic. The big three can all space the ball and Daniel Gafford is also a very capable screener.
This should set Thompson up for the best possible half court production that he can offer as a rookie. The defense would most likely focus on the three 20+ point per game players rather than the rookie who can’t shoot. Any lane created from that can and will be exploited by Thompson and his excellent court awareness.
The Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to the fastbreak this season, Thompson is easily a top two player in the draft when in that area. The fit is clear there and could greatly improve their ability to run up the score.
Add in his quality defense and they have a legitimate starting guard who can play defense. Delon Wright isn’t good enough of a playmaker to be a quality starter, Monte Morris isn’t a great defender, and Jordan Goodwin is the perfect glue guy off the bench for any team.
The fit between the Washington Wizards and Amen Thompson is perfect and would greatly improve the team in nearly every category. Now the only thing they need is to get lucky in the draft lottery.