The 2023 NBA Draft is this Thursday, which means it’s that time of year for mock drafts, scouting reports, and simply getting to know the potential picks. Because the Thompson twins – Amen and Ausar – hail from the new Overtime Elite league, they hold more mystery and intrigue than the popular college prospects. Who are they? How do they fit into the draft landscape?
Check out below for an explanation of Overtime Elite, their scouting reports, NBA comparisons, and which twin is the superior prospect. Other scouting reports can quickly be found on the Lineups 2023 Big Board or Final Mock Draft as well.
What is Overtime Elite
Historically, players entered the NBA Draft as either a college or international prospect. The G League then offered another route as essentially a minor league to the NBA where prospects could hone their skills against professionals while being paid. It has boomed recently with top prospects like Dyson Daniels, Jaden Hardy, MarJon Beauchamp, Scoot Henderson, and Sidy Cissoko choosing this path to the draft.
In 2021, Overtime Elite (OTE) launched as a professional basketball league for 16 to 20-year-olds. Per the league site, “Overtime Elite built its program as an alternative pathway for athletes looking to play basketball at the next level. In its inaugural 2021 season, OTE only offered professional opportunities…In the fall of 2022, OTE began offering athletes a scholarship option – instead of a salary – which provides unparalleled development and educational opportunities at OTE while preserving college eligibility.”
In terms of the actual basketball being played, it’s a fast-paced, transition-heavy league with inferior competition compared to elite colleges, international leagues, or the G League.
No OTE player has been drafted yet, although it’s not surprising given that this was only its second season. That’s about to change because Amen and Ausar Thompson are highly touted prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft. They turn 21 in January, which isn’t ideal but far from detrimental. Both twins measure 6’7” with shoes, boast a 7’0” wingspan, and will immediately be in the top percentile for athleticism.
Amen Thompson Scouting Report, NBA Comparison, Draft Range, Highlights, Stats
Draft Age: 20.4
Team: Overtime Elite City Reapers
Strengths: Amen is a special combination of slashing, elite playmaking, hyper-athleticism, and size. He thrives in transition because he’s a threat to either explode to the basket or sling it to the trailing shooter. He owns one of the quickest jump cuts I’ve ever seen, which allows him to routinely get to the basket. Once he’s there, Amen utilizes his aerial advantage (alleged 44” vertical jump) and long arms to finish through or around contact. As a rookie, he will be a scary downhill scorer and efficient in the paint.
Despite his impressive speed and desire to get to the basket, Amen doesn’t play wildly out of control (a typical problem for players with his athletic profile and usage rate). He can abandon a top speed approach on any possession and switch into a stop-and-start style to throw off a defender’s timing.
Amen’s tangible upside as a primary playmaker is a dangerous complement to his slashing. His court vision is superb, and Amen’s bullet passes are rarely off the mark. Due to his size, Amen can see over defenders, which provides him the fifth passing lane (over the defender’s head). He will be an excellent transition passer, but Amen can also adequately orchestrate a half-court offense.
Weaknesses: As for concerns, there’s a glaring red flag: shooting. He produced a 25 3PT% and 65.6 FT%; the shot mechanics are ugly and need major reconstruction. His shooting woes allowed opponents to go under screens, pack the paint, and dare him to pull up from three. It’s unlikely Amen becomes anything more than a slightly below average shooter, but that’s all he needs given his other dominant traits. However, it’s feasible he never accomplishes this, which severely limits his half-court impact against playoff defenses.
NBA Comparison: Amen is a unique prospect, so there’s no true comparison. With that being said, there are shades of Russell Westbrook in terms of explosive athleticism, playmaking, rim pressure, and shooting woes. Ben Simmons is another relatively close match when considering the intersection of size, playmaking, and poor shooting. LaMelo Ball minus perimeter shooting but with superior paint scoring is a reasonable vision for Amen.
Draft Ranking: Amen ranks 4th on my Big Board and sits in the third tier with Brandon Miller and Cam Whitmore.
Landing Spot: Because of his athleticism, slashing, and primary playmaking potential, Amen is a lock to go in the top ten and a likely top five pick. Houston (4th), Orlando (6th), and Washington (8th) are all logical landing spots for Amen.
Ausar Thompson Scouting Report, NBA Comparison, Draft Ranges, Highlights, Stats
Draft Age: 20.4
Team: Overtime Elite City Reapers
Strengths: While Ausar is similar to Amen from an athletic standpoint, he fits a different archetype. He projects to play off-ball more frequently, although Ausar is still a talented passer with secondary playmaking value. He can move the ball, create for others, and make advanced reads. Ausar’s ability to diagnose the possession and weaponize his athleticism deem him a smart, dangerous cutter that would thrive next to a tablesetter.
In addition to cutting and secondary playmaking, Ausar possesses strong defensive upside. He will haunt passing lanes because of his length, uncanny anticipation, and quickness. As for on-ball, Ausar’s mirroring, foot speed, and active hands crown him a disruptive defender that can blow up possessions. Ausar hunts steals too frequently and can get caught napping at times, but the tools are there for him to be a plus defender with potentially fringe All-Defensive upside.
Weaknesses: Ausar’s shooting remains a work in progress, but his form shows promise. It’s reasonable that he can develop into an average shooter. Ausar doesn’t utilize his frame to create advantages on drives, and he struggles to fight through contact despite his athletic gifts. Overall, his lackluster off the dribble creation and finishing cap his offensive ceiling.
NBA Comparison: Like Amen, Ausar is difficult to find a match for. A forward version of Marcus Smart with increased cutting impact and athleticism could fit the bill. Andrew Wiggins with more playmaking but less shooting is also a decent picture of Ausar’s potential.
Draft Ranking: Ausar ranks 10th on my Big Board and sits in the fourth tier with names like Jarace Walker, Taylor Hendricks, and Anthony Black.
Landing Spot: It’s highly likely that Ausar goes in the 8-12 range, but it’s possible he’s drafted as high as 6th overall. The upside is clear, and there are plenty of rebuilding franchises willing to be patient. Washington (8th), Utah (9th), and Orlando (6th,11th) would all gladly add Ausar to their rosters.
Which Thompson Twin is Better
Overall, Amen is the superior prospect because his skills are scarcer. Primary playmaking at his size is already difficult to find, and it’s infinitely rarer when paired with freakish athleticism. Factor in his lethal drives, and Amen has three vital cornerstones to rely on: passing, slashing, and physical advantages. Teams can develop shooting, but they can’t develop Amen’s unique skill set.
While Amen’s upside is more desirable, Ausar is the safer prospect. Defense, athleticism, cutting, and secondary playmaking always has a place in the league, and his shot is more encouraging than Amen’s. However, franchises at the top draft for superstar upside, and the only twin that holds this designation is Amen.