The fourth pick in this year's draft, Amen Thompson, has had an unusual start to his NBA career as he has only played in 23 games for the Houston Rockets thus far. An ankle injury and illness derailed Thompson to miss a month, giving more minutes to Aaron Holiday.
To Holiday's credit, he played well in Thompson's absence, providing the Rockets with more spacing and three-point shooting.
Once he returned, Coach Ime Udoka slowly integrated Thompson back into the rotation while also giving Holiday additional playing time. Thompson's new role with the second unit was sort of strange, as he wasn't often the primary ball handler initiating the offense.
How the Rockets have unleashed Amen Thompson
Instead, Udoka started to use Thompson as a wing, due to his frame and 6'7 height.
The defense of Thompson started to catch the attention of the coaching staff, as we saw times where he would be assigned to the team's best offensive player. Sure, he's had missed assignments as well as ball watching, but what rookie hasn't?
Thompson's wingspan has helped him average one steal a game.
Given the injuries to key players such as Tari Eason and Dillon Brooks, Thompson's minutes have gone up. Just recently, Coach Udoka has started to break the rookie in more, as he's allowed Thompson to become the main ball handler off the bench.
This has essentially given Thompson the keys to the offense. At times, he can get rattled and lose the ball between defenders, but as the year goes on, I look for Thompson's handle to improve as he's given more responsibility.
It's pretty clear that he is one of the team's best defenders. At least thus far this season.
Although his defensive rating is only at 108.1, I am optimistic about that possibly increasing with more playing time.
Yes, his shooting also needs to drastically improve, but he helps the Rockets in ways that the team lacked for many years.