Observing Amen Thompson and Bronny James in an Overtime Elite Game
October 30th, 2022
By Alan Lu
This time around, I decided to take the time to watch an Overtime Elite preseason game that featured City Reapers’ very athletic swingman Amen Thompson and LeBron James’ son, Bronny James of the California Basketball Club that took place on October 20th, with thanks to YouTube via OTE. It was a very competitive game in the first half, but the City Reapers were able to take command and pull away in the third quarter, and they ended up winning by double digits. Both Amen Thompson and Bronny James played fairly well, but also made their fair share of mistakes at times in this contest. Here are my thoughts on how they fared in this game. Also, for those that are interested in the box score of this game, here is the link.
Amen Thompson had a solid showing to help lift the City Reapers to a double-digit win in this game. He is a very athletic swingman that was able to make highlight reel worthy plays on both ends of the floor, and he is an aggressive player that would often capitalize on making hustle plays.
Thompson showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. He is an aggressive scorer that has a quick first step to the hoop, and he excelled at going to his right, as he would use a hop step to score off the glass. He also showed a knack for driving into defenders to get foul calls and free throws. He also thrived at scoring on fast breaks, and he is a strong finisher that was able to score on a couple of high-flying dunks.
He did a better job of shooting the basketball from the outside, though he struggled to consistently make mid-range jumpers. Thompson was able to make an open, pull-up three, and he made it when given ample space to do so. He also utilized a spin move to score on a turnaround, mid-range jumper while drawing an extra free throw another time. However, his shot selection looked to be quite suspect at times. He would tend to take tough, contested jumpers as he would try to flail and draw foul calls, which would result in awkwardly missed, off-balanced shots when he wouldn’t get them.
Also, Thompson showcased satisfactory playmaking skills. Thompson is a fleet-footed playmaker that can deftly get past his man, and he would tend to throw solid passes off the dribble to create numerous scoring chances for his teammates. He also was able to make a nifty, behind-the-back pass to find the open man around the basket. Sometimes though, he would tend to over-dribble, which would lead him to get the ball poked away and commit ball-handling turnovers.
Thompson also was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor to get his fair share of rebounds. Defensively, he looked to be fairly average in this game. He made one great defensive play in this game, as he quickly jumped a pass to get a steal, which he was able to turn into a fastbreak dunk. He also would contest mid-range jumpers to force misses. Surprisingly though, he didn’t seem to give consistent or enough effort or focus on the defensive end in this match. He would sometimes over-help in the paint and be late to rotate back to shooters, and there were a couple of instances where he didn’t even contest threes, which would lead him to give up baskets. Other times, he wouldn’t hustle back on defense or stay in front of his man, and he would get beat on plays by lesser athletic opponents in instances where he shouldn’t have.
In general, Amen Thompson is a talented prospect that projects to be one of the most athletic players in the 2023 draft. He is a superb athlete that does a very good job of attacking the hoop to score and get assists, and he has very good defensive potential. On the other hand, he will really need to improve his jump shot, and he will need to be a more focused defender on a consistent basis. It’s a long season, so it’s still a bit too early to tell where he’ll end up in the 2023 draft, but he will likely go in the mid to late first round on draft day.
6-3 guard, Bronny James had a solid showing for the California Basketball Club in his team’s tough loss in this game. He is a highly touted prospect that is the prodigious son of superstar point forward LeBron James, and Bronny James is a strong, athletic lead guard that excelled as a shooter and scorer, and he is a sharpshooter that can make a variety of plays for his team on the offensive end.
James did a good job of knocking down jumpers, especially from downtown. He is a very good three-point shooter that can knock them down off the catch or dribble, and he also ran off of a ball screen to make one from deep. He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble. While he’s not overly explosive, he’s a strong, mobile guard that showed that he can score or draw free throws when making strong moves to the hoop, but he also would sometimes take tough, dribble mid-range jumpers that would lead to misses. He also tried posting up once, but ended up missing on a contested shot around the basket.
He also showcased adequate playmaking skills. James will make the extra pass to find open shooters, and he also can push the pace to make swift drive and kick passes to get the ball to his teammates. He also threw a nice, between-the-legs bounce pass to a shooter due to possessing solid court vision. On the downside, sometimes he would be careless with the ball in his hands, which would occasionally result in him committing ball-handling turnovers.
Also, James was able to get his fair share of defensive boards to chip in on the glass. He also played decent defense. He is an active defender that will poke balls away to help his team get steals and deflections, and he also was able to jump on a loose ball that his teammate poked away. He also was able to contest a couple of mid-range jumpers to force some misses. However, he would tend to be a bit late on his rotations and give up too much space to shooters, and he would often overcompensate by fouling them, which would cause him to give up baskets and compound matters by giving up extra free throws. Another time, he sagged too far off his man and allowed his opponent to score on a three-point shot late in this match.
Overall, Bronny James played fairly well, and he certainly seems to have improved since the last time I’ve seen him play. He’s continued to progress as a shooter, and he’s shown better shot-creation and playmaking skills. On the other hand, he will need to take better care of the basketball and be a more disciplined defender on a consistent basis. He is a talented prospect that has a variety of skills that could prove to be useful at higher levels, and he could end up being a first round pick in a future NBA draft, especially if he continues to hone his game.
Also, here are my thoughts on how some of the other prospects fared in this game.
6-7 forward, Ashton Hardaway also played well for the California Basketball Club. He is a fairly athletic, skilled forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he showed off solid all-around skills when he was on the floor.
Hardaway did a great job of making spot-up threes off the catch. He is a good movement shooter that would often run off ball screens and use off-ball movement to make quick threes from beyond the arc. He also showed off adequate low post scoring skills. While he was inconsistent as a scorer from the block, he is a strong, mobile forward that was able to make a couple of smooth, fadeaway jumpers in this game. On the downside, he isn’t overly fast or quick so he had some trouble getting by his opponents, which would lead him to take tough, contested shots from further out, and he had more trouble knocking down shots from inside the arc later on.
Also, he showed off satisfactory playmaking skills. He did a good job of throwing interior passes to find the open man, and he can find his teammates on the move. He also passed the ball back and set a screen to help his teammate get an open look for a shot beyond the arc. However, he would sometimes telegraph his passes, which would get intercepted.
He also was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor to chip in on the glass. Hardaway also played adequate defense. He was able to poke balls and jump on a loose ball to help his team get steals. He also managed to rotate to successfully challenge a mid-range jump shot. Sometimes though, he would struggle to stay in front of opponents when defending them off the dribble or on cuts, which would cause his teammates to rotate to commit fouls. Another time, he didn’t hustle back on defense, which led to a scramble situation that led his team to give up a three-point basket.
Overall, Ashton Hardaway is a talented combo forward that showed off solid all-around skills, and he is a versatile scorer that is stronger than he looks. He was able to make some impressive shots from all over the floor. He’ll still need to fill out his frame, as well as improve his on-ball defense, but his ability to make shots combined with his versatility could enable him to project to be a reliable role player at the NBA level in the future.
City Reapers’ 6-0 point guard, Eli Ellis played very well, and he especially thrived as a sharpshooting, three-point marksman to help his team on offense. He had a solid all-around game, and while he is undersized and isn’t overwhelmingly athletic, he is an agile, skilled playmaker that consistently made solid plays when he was on the floor.
Ellis shot the ball very well, especially off the catch. He was able to make a couple of corner threes while getting fouled, and he also made another spot-up three from way out. He isn’t especially fast or quick, but he also showed that he can make smooth, dribble jumpers from the mid-range. On the downside, because he isn’t especially athletic, he would sometimes struggle to get by his opponents, which would lead him to take tough, contested shots that would occasionally result in misses.
He also showed off solid playmaking skills. Ellis sees the floor well, and he did a good job of making passes off the dribble and on the break to create numerous scoring chances for his teammates. He also was able to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the pace off of defensive boards. He also played satisfactory defense. He is an active defender that will get his hands on balls to help his team get steals and deflections, and he also contested threes to force misses. Sometimes though, he wouldn’t seem to give enough effort at times, and he would give up too much space or not always contest shots, which led him to give up a couple of mid-range baskets.
Overall, Eli Ellis put forth a strong performance to help the City Reapers get the win in this game. He isn’t an overly explosive athlete nor has ideal size for his position, but he is a skilled point guard that can shoot and pass the basketball. If he keeps playing well at higher levels, he could end up being a second round pick and could project to be a solid backup point guard in the NBA someday.
Jimmy Oladokun is an athletic big man that also had a fairly solid showing for the California Basketball Club. He is a rangy interior defender that was able to make some impressive blocks, and he also managed to throw down a couple of dunks on offense. He also was a fairly solid screen setter. He struggled to score consistently in the post, and there were a couple of instances where he would either be late to get down court or not effectively communicate screens to his teammates on the defensive end. Still, he is a very athletic, energetic, albeit undersized big man whose hustle and motor could be his calling card at higher levels. He’ll need to improve his outside shot and perimeter skills, but he could be a prospect to watch in the future.
Ryan Bewley also played fairlry well in this game. Bewley was able to make a mid-range jumper to show a promising jump shot, although he was fairly inconsistent at finishing plays around the basket on offense in this game. He also passed and defended well. He will need to work on his post game and expand his skill set offensively, but he could project to be a reliable role player in the NBA in the future.
Somto Cyril is an athletic big man that thrived as an interior player on both ends of the floor. While he didn’t take many shots, he excelled at scoring on hustle plays around the basket, and he also rebounded and defended well. He would actively look to challenge shots, and he also showed the propensity to block shots and deflect passes. On the downside, he didn’t pass the ball very well and also dropped a catchable pass another time that led to a turnover. Overall, he will need to be a more aggressive player on offense, but he is an intriguing prospect that could project into a rim protector role in the NBA.
Malik Bowman is an athletic forward that showed versatile scoring skills when he was on the floor. He was able to score on an athletic tip shot early on, and he can finish plays above the rim. He also was able to make an open three-pointer on the break, though he struggled to be consistent with his outside shot.
He also did a good job of passing the basketball, and he made good touch passes and showed good court vision to get assists. He will need to improve his shot-making skills both as a shooter and scorer in the half-court, and he will need to show that he can consistently defend well at higher levels, but he could project to be a versatile role player in the NBA if he can continue to progress and hone his overall game.
Tudor Somacescu is an agile swingman that excelled as a shooter and rebounder when he was on the floor, but he also committed a couple of turnovers, as he struggled to consistently make good passes in this game.
For the positives, he is a good spot-up shooter that can use off-ball movement to score on spot-up threes off the catch. He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He will need to improve his ability to create shots for himself and others, and he will need to show that he can consistently defend well at higher levels, but at the minimum, he could project into a shooting specialist role off the bench at the NBA level in the future.
6-6 swingman, Jahki Howard has been putting up solid scoring numbers for the City Reapers early in preseason, but he wasn’t nearly as effective in his team’s win in this game. He is an agile, energetic swingman that can score on hustle plays, but he didn’t shoot well and struggled to make shots off the dribble.
On the other hand, he showcased solid playmaking skills and was able to make his fair share of defensive plays. Howard threw good interior passes, and he can find teammates on the move to set up scores for them. He also played adequate defense. He would get his hands on passes to get steals, and he also managed to block a shot, as well as to contest a mid-range jumper to force a miss. However, he struggled to defend shooters or scorers in one-on-one situations, as he would tend to either give up open jump shots or get beat off the dribble that would result in him giving up made baskets. He also didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was able to get a few defensive boards in this game.
Overall, Jahki Howard is an agile, energetic swingman that will make hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he will need to improve his jump shot and on defense. He will still need time to hone his game, but he could be a prospect to keep tabs on in the future.
Anyways, those are my thoughts on how Amen Thompson, Bronny James, and other various prospects fared in this game. Thanks for reading.