Heading into the 2023 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets were expected to select Amen Thompson, who hailed from the newly-formed Overtime Elite. Thompson and his brother, Ausar Thompson, were both five-star prospects after the conclusion of their junior seasons and decided to play professionally instead of finishing their senior year of prep eligibility in the high school ranks.
The duo played on the same team in 2022-23 and won an OTE championship, with Amen posting averages of 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Thompson filled up the stat sheet and cemented himself as one of the best players in the 2023 NBA Draft class.
It was clear that Thompson possessed a larger-than-usual frame for a point guard, as his 6-foot-7 build towers above almost every other point guard in the league. Thompson drew instant comparisons to former Rockets guard John Wall, who was viewed as a can't-miss-prospect coming out of Kentucky and it wasn't a lofty comparison.
Both players have insanely quick first steps and jaw-dropping athleticism, not to mention the defensive abilities. In addition, both players were viewed as non-shooters heading into their debut NBA seasons.
Thompson's shooting motion was rather unorthodox, which left Rockets shooting coach Ben Sullivan with a rather daunting task, in terms of trying to rework his jump shot. And even if successful, he'd still have a long way to go before Thompson would even morph into an average 3-point shooter.
After all, he made just 25 percent of his triples in a league where he was one of the better defenders. So it's not like he was facing immense defenses that caused him to struggle from beyond the arc.
Thompson made his only 3-point attempt in his Summer League debut, but that was just the Summer League after all. We can only take so much from that game, right?
Rockets rookie Amen Thompson does the unthinkable in latest preseason victory
Well, Thompson's latest preseason performance against the New Orleans Pelicans should be even more encouraging, as he turned heads when he drained a step-back triple that was nothing but net.
Thompson took the shot with 15 ticks on the shot clock, exuding confidence in an area that was clearly his weakest attribute.
Rockets Twitter was in disbelief.
Again, it may seem like a rather ordinary play but it must be considered how far he's come in this regard. Even more impressive is the fact that Thompson took three triples in the game- a clear sign that he's been encouraged to take those when he has the opportunity and work through his biggest weakness.
Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come. But either way, you can't help but be excited for this kid's future, as he finished the Rockets' game with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 1-of-3 from long-range, four assists, and two rebounds in 20 minutes of gameplay.