2023 Draft Watch: Evaluating the Thompson Twins in Game 3 of the 2022 Overtime Elite Finals

September 25th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Ausar Thompson and Amen Thompson are two of the best players that will be returning to Overtime Elite for the upcoming season, and both could end up being drafted high in 2023.  Today, I decided to take the time to watch the Thompson twins play in a March 13th game in Game 3 of the 2022 Overtime Elite Finals that took place between Team Elite and Team OTE, with thanks to YouTube via OTE

As for the game itself, it was not a particularly well played game, at least from an offensive standpoint. It was a bruising, low scoring affair in a 32-minute game in which neither team scored 55 points, but Ausar Thompson was the best player on the floor, and he had a strong second half to lead Team Elite to a win over Team OTE to get them their first championship.  Here are my thoughts on how the Thompson twins fared, as well as how their games may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Ausar Thompson (on the right, with the ball) is a very athletic playmaker that could potentially end up being a lottery pick in the 2023 draft.
(Photo:
Overtime Elite, via The Los Angeles Times)

Ausar Thompson is a very athletic, high-motor swingman that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, especially in the second half.  He got off to a rather uneven start early on, but he did a great job down the stretch to help his team get the victory.

Thompson showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He can use either hand to score at the rim, and he can score on quick layups and powerful dunks.  He also was able to score on a baseline runner while getting fouled on a drive in transition, and Thompson can routinely score on high-flying jams on the break.  Plus, he also did a good job of drawing fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  Every once in a while, he’ll rush his shots and miss when he wouldn’t get foul calls, but he did a very good job of driving to the rim to score in this match.

He also was active at scoring on hustle plays.  Thompson excelled at scoring on fast breaks, and he also ran in to score on an athletic tip slam.  He is a very athletic player that can finish plays above the rim, which enables him to be able to make plays in transition, off cuts, and offensive rebounds.

Also, Thompson was able to pull up to make a deep three-pointer off the dribble.  He also drew free throws when handling the ball late in the game, and he would’ve made a baseline, pull-up, mid-range jumper had the call not been made.  On the downside, Thompson had trouble making mid-range jumpers, and he also didn’t take many threes, as he missed on a spot-up three from way out another time.

Plus, he also showcased decent playmaking skills.  Thompson showed that he can make drive and kick passes to get the ball to open shooters, and he was able to rack up a pair of assists.  He also tended to throw solid interior passes to get his teammates the basketball.  On the downside, he can tend to rush himself and over-dribble into traffic, which can get him into trouble.  On one play, he committed a charging foul when driving to the hoop in transition.  He also drove hurriedly into traffic, but lost the ball and fell to commit another turnover.

Thompson also did a great job of hauling in rebounds on both ends of the floor.  He would often leap up to get offensive boards, and he would tend to push the pace after getting defensive rebounds.  He also played solid defense in this game.  Thompson is a rangy defender that can cover a lot of ground, and he will get numerous steals and blocks when he is on the floor.  He was able to poke balls away from opposing ball handlers to get steals, and he did a great job of swiping balls away to get them.  He also intercepted a pass to get another.  He also rotated to alter a shot around the basket, and he also closed out on a deep three to force a miss another time.  On the downside, sometimes he would get beat off the dribble a little too easily, and sometimes he wouldn’t move his feet well enough when defending opponents on drives.

In general, Ausar Thompson played very well, especially in crunch time to get Team Elite the win and the championship over Team OTE.  He will need to improve his outside shot moving forward, but he is a very athletic point forward that could end up being drafted in the lottery of the 2023 draft, and he could end up being a similar player to former Detroit Pistons’ All-Star swingman, Jerry Stackhouse in the NBA.

Amen Thompson (on the right) is a very athletic playmaker that is known for making highlight reel-worthy plays, and like his twin brother, is also considered a first round prospect for the 2023 draft.
(Photo:
Overtime Elite, via Stock Risers)

Amen Thompson didn’t play as well as his twin brother in this game, and he both struggled to shoot from the outside and also with turnovers in his team’s loss to Team Elite.  Like his brother, he is a very athletic, ball-handling point forward that is at his best when attacking the hoop to make plays on offense, and is also a rangy defender that can get numerous rebounds, steals, and blocks for his team.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get into a consistent rhythm on offense in this game.

Thompson excelled at scoring on fast breaks.  He would run the floor to get the ball, as he was able to drive up court to score on a powerful dunk, and he scored on a layup another time.  He also would look to score off offensive rebounds, as he drew free throws on a put back slam but missed another time.  While Thompson was able to make a couple of pull-up threes, he struggled to knock down three-pointers consistently, and he especially struggled to make them off them off the catch.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average in this game.  He had the ball in his hands a lot, and he would make a slew of drive and kick passes, and he would make passes off the dribble to find open teammates.  On the downside, he tended to over-dribble and play too wildly at times.  He would sometimes rush himself when handling the ball, as he was called for traveling once, stepped out of bounds another time, and had the ball ripped away from another time.  He also tried an ill-advised jump pass, but stepped out of bounds beforehand.  He tended to commit careless ball-handling turnovers that led him to be turnover prone in this contest.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball.  Thompson was especially active at crashing the glass to get offensive boards.  While he didn’t seem to get as many defensive rebounds, he was able to push the ball up the court off of a defensive rebound once.

Thompson also played solid defense in this game.  He is a very athletic, rangy defender that can cover a lot of ground to make plays on that end of the floor.  Thompson was able to rotate to poke a ball away from an opposing ball handler to get a steal, and he also ran in to intercept a dropped lob pass to get another.  He also did a good job of blocking shots in the post due to possessing great athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also successfully drew a charge to prevent an opponent from scoring on the break, and he also contested a mid-range jumper to force a miss.  On the downside, he will sometimes commit touch fouls when defending opposing ball-handlers due to over-aggressiveness.

In summary, Amen Thompson didn’t play nearly as well, and he struggled with his jump shot and turnovers in this game.  He is a very athletic point forward that played very good defense, and he is a high-flyer that can certainly finish plays above the rim.  Currently, Thompson is a prospect that projects to go in the mid first round range, and he could end up being a similar player to former Dallas Mavericks’ forward, Josh Howard in the association.

Other Notes:

Here were my thoughts on some of the other players that played well enough to be mentioned in this article, as well as my thoughts about the Overtime Elite league last year.

Team Elite’s 6-2 point guard, Emmanuel Maldonado also played well in this game.  He did a great job of making open corner threes off the catch to provide floor spacing on offense.  Defensively, he would poke balls away to get steals and deflections and contest threes to force misses.  He excelled as a spot-up shooter and defender when he was on the floor.  While he may not be overwhelmingly athletic, his ability to make shots and pressure ball-handlers could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Team Elite’s 6-9 forward, Ryan Bewley played fairly well to help his team get the win.  He excelled as a low volume offensive player, and he is a mobile, energetic big man that rebounded and defended well.  He excelled at scoring off of rolls and put backs, and he would score on powerful dunks.  He was able to set a solid on-ball screen to help his teammate score off of a drive.  On the downside, he threw an inaccurate pass that went out of bounds, and dropped an inaccurate lob another time.

Bewley rebounded and defended well, and he was able to block a shot in the post to himself.  He also would contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to force misses.  However, sometimes he would commit fouls on put backs, and he also sagged too far on a switch that led him to give up a three-point basket another time.

Overall, Ryan Bewley had a solid showing, despite not getting nearly enough touches on offense.  He will need to work on his jump shot and add more post moves, but he is a tall, fairly athletic, energetic player that could project to be a backup big man at the NBA level.

Team OTE’s 5-11 guard, Johned Walker had a strong first half, but he struggled to make shots consistently down the stretch.   He did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop, and he tended to prefer going to his right.  He was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble, but he struggled to consistently make pull-up threes from beyond the arc.

Walker also passed the ball well, and he is a good passer off the dribble and on fast breaks.  On one play though, he over-dribbled into traffic and lost the ball while handling it, which led him to commit a ball-handling turnover.

He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Walker also defended very well in this game.  He was able to deflect a pass to help his team get a steal, and he also jumped on a loose ball to get another.  He did a good job of jumping on loose balls and getting his hands on passes, and he also would aggressively contest outside shots to force plenty of misses.  On one play though, he was caught ball watching and over-helped in the paint, which led him to allow an opponent to score on a corner three that time.

Overall, Johned Walker is a crafty scorer that can do so in a variety of ways, but he will need to be a more consistent outside shooter in games.  He doesn’t possess ideal size for his position, but his ability to score could enable him to carve out a solid playing career in professional basketball.

Matt Bewley had a solid first half, but he didn’t get many touches on offense in the second half, and he ended up being quite foul prone in this game.  He was active at scoring off of offensive rebounds, but sometimes would rush shots and miss when looking to score in the paint.

He rebounded the ball well, and he was active in looking to contest shots on the defensive end.  However, he tended to be undisciplined defensively, which would lead him to commit fouls and be out of position.  Overall, Bewley is a tall, athletic big man that has a fairly solid motor, but he will need to be more aggressive on offense, and he will need to play more under control on the defensive end.  While he will still need to polish up his overall game, he could project to be a backup big man at the NBA level someday.

Team OTE’s 6-10 forward, Tyler Smith played well in limited minutes when he was on the floor.  He was able to make a corner three, and he also ran in to score on a tip dunk off of an offensive rebound.  He showed off impressive scoring skills within the limited amount of shots he took in this game.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  He poked a ball off of an opposing ball handler out of bounds to help force a turnover.  On the downside, he struggled to defend in half-court situations.  He sagged a bit too far off of a shooter, which led him to give up a corner three basket to his opponent.  He also got beat off the dribble when rotating on a switch to allow a score another time.  Overall, Tyler Smith is an athletic, skilled forward that could be due for a breakout season this year, and he is a versatile, skilled scorer that could end up being a potential first round pick in the future.

Team Elite’s 6-6 swingman, Jaylen Martin also played well in limited minutes.  He is an athletic player that was able to make an open three off the catch to showcase his shooting skills. 

He also defended well, as he was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal, and he also rotated to contest a drive to force a miss.  He was able to find a shooter to get an assist, but he also had a ball poked off of himself that led him to turn the ball over.  Overall, Martin is a fairly athletic swingman that played well in limited minutes, and he could project into a 3 and D type of role at the NBA level someday.

One of the major concerns is the level of competition in this league, and whether or not if they will actually prepare players for the NBA.  In the 2022 NBA Draft, none of the players that were selected came from the Overtime Elite program.  The Overtime Elite’s prized signing, Jean Montero, who was once considered a potential lottery prospect heading into the season ended up going undrafted

Dominick Barlow, Kok Yat, and Jai Smith all went undrafted, and the only player that is definitively on an NBA team appears to be Dominick Barlow, who is on a two-way contract with the San Antonio Spurs.  Jean Montero apparently signed an Exhibit 10 with the New York Knicks, but there appear to be conflicting sources, and right now, Montero does not currently show up on the Knicks’ roster on Spotrac. It seems that the Overtime Elite have signed numerous talented high school basketball players to participate in their program, as well as Jean Montero, who had played pro ball in Spain in 2021, but they will need someone to play well in the NBA to ensure that their program works and can develop players successfully for that league.  Otherwise, these questions will remain, at least for the foreseeable future. As a result, we may need to taper expectations on what to expect out of Overtime Elite’s players in the meantime.

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