Are the Rockets overvaluing Amen Thompson?

2023 NBA Draft Combine
2023 NBA Draft Combine / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Ever since the Houston Rockets received word that they would be selecting with the fourth overall pick in next week’s NBA Draft, there have been a number of scenarios that have emerged regarding what they’ll do with the pick. We’d even heard they had interest in potentially moving the pick for a star-level player, namely New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson.

 We haven’t heard as much about the Rockets’ potential interest in moving up in the draft, in hopes of taking G-League Ignite floor general Scoot Henderson. It’s been repeated endlessly, but Henderson would have been the top overall pick in each of the last several years and would also be this year’s top pick, were it not for Victor Wembanyama.

We’ve heard Rockets fans call for the franchise to pay the necessary price to move up to number two and select Henderson but it doesn’t seem as though the franchise shares that same view. And it certainly hasn’t caused the Rockets’ decision-makers to make the move.

Are the Rockets overvaluing Amen Thompson?

What we’ve instead heard is that the franchise is very high on Overtime Elite point guard Amen Thompson, and rightfully so, as the 6’7 Thompson twin possesses insane athleticism and has a knack for finding the open man. Not only that, Thompson is also a formidable, fearless defender, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering his 7-foot wingspan.

For these reasons, among others, the Rockets feel comfortable staying put at pick four and taking Amen Thompson, as opposed to moving up and trying to get Henderson, as explained Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

“I’ve heard they believe that the gap between Amen and Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller is actually not as large as people might assume it’s going to be. They think it’s quite minimal because when you look at Amen in a vacuum as a 6-foot-7 athlete who can jump out of the gym as an aggressive defender and a quality playmaker, with the ability to mesh with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.”

This was met with dissatisfaction from several members of the fanbase, but should it have been? Sure, Thompson and Henderson are two different types of prospects, and the level of competition they faced isn’t even close.

Henderson played against grown men in the G-League and competed against many players who starred in college and are older, thus stronger, as their bodies have essentially developed more. The Overtime Elite, on the other hand, is quite different, as Thompson competed against many prep prospects.

In addition, as Iko noted, Henderson is quite shorter than Thompson, and if the Rockets value Thompson’s size, it’s easy to understand why that would be a selling point for them. None of us have seen their evaluation system, nor do we actually know how they are grading and assessing either player.

So we shouldn’t chalk up their prioritization of Thompson over Henderson as an overvalue, because it’s quite impossible to even know if that’s true. What we could, however, acknowledge is the possibility that the Rockets know the cost to move up to the second or third pick isn’t reasonable for them, and maybe they’re coping and/or trying to talk themselves into believing that Thompson could be what they need as a floor general.

On the flip side, maybe they really believe that and don’t have to convince themselves. None of us know.

But just because you may not agree with their valuation doesn’t necessarily mean they have a flawed system. Or that they are overvaluing Thompson.

It just means they have a different viewpoint than you. Which is also okay.