“Situational Analysis” is a series of articles that seeks to examine the circumstances that most often influence an NBA prospect’s success. Each player will be scored on a scale from 1-10 in four different categories: NBA-specific skill(s), flaw(s), collegiate/overseas/pre-NBA environment, and ideal NBA ecosystem.

Ausar Thompson is a 20-year-old guard/wing from Oakland who averaged 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for the Overtime Elite. He is expected to be selected in the top half of the lottery in this year’s draft. NBADraft.net currently has him projected at No. 7.

NBA-Specific Skills

How does one separate two seemingly identical players – particularly when they have been following a nearly identical trajectory?

Amen and Ausar Thompson are both elite basketball prospects. We covered Amen in this space already, and many scouts believe his added playmaking dimension gives him a slight edge. Ausar, meanwhile, has been a slightly more productive Overtime Elite player and a more physical defensive presence.

Like Amen, Ausar is a blindingly fast, ultra-athletic wing with phenomenal open-court instincts and an unselfish nature. Unlike Amen, however, Ausar is more adept at reading passing lanes and is less likely to get crushed by a screen.

Offensively, Ausar prefers to play above the rim and thrives on backcuts or slashes down the paint. He is a threat to dunk it on anyone at any time.

Ausar projects as a physically gifted “glue guy” with a slightly lower ceiling than Amen, but perhaps a higher floor, as it is much easier to cover for his shortcomings if he accepts a role as a high-level starter and defensive-first wing.

Much like his brother, Ausar possesses a tremendous work ethic and seemingly never gets fatigued.

On a scale from 1-10, Thompson’s physical gifts and defensive upside rates at a 9.


Ausar is a slightly better shooter than Amen, but he still has a lot of work to do in order to reach “passable” from an NBA perspective.

At just 30% on nearly five attempts per game, Ausar’s slashing ability will be hindered by teams playing well below screens, daring him to shoot. His 67% showing from the foul line doesn’t inspire much confidence, but his form/motion is in better shape than Amen’s. If Ausar becomes a semi-reliable shooter from the corners, that could change his entire NBA career.

Much like Amen, Ausar will often throw the ball all over the court in hopes of landing the perfect highlight. His dribble can get a little loose, as well.

On a scale from 1 (not a concern) to 10 (serious hindrance), Thompson’s jumper rates at an 8.5 – a little better than his brother’s, but not where an NBA team would want it quite yet.

Pre-NBA Setting

Thompson and his twin brother, Ausar, each took somewhat unconventional routes to NBA lottery-pick status. The Thompsons grew up in California with their father, former Olympic sprinter Mark Thompson, taking charge of their basketball training in middle school. The kids were homeschooled before the Thompsons moved to Florida, where Amen and Ausar starred for Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale for one year.

The Thompsons received several offers from major college basketball programs before electing to go with Overtime Elite.

Amen is generally considered a more intriguing NBA prospect, thanks to his burgeoning point guard skills, but Ausar was perhaps the more accomplished player during their Overtime Elite stints.

It’s exceedingly difficult to play oneself into a position to be selected in the NBA draft lottery, and almost impossible for twin brothers to achieve it. While it isn’t the most common path toward that goal, and another path with a higher level of competition may have prepared them for a smoother NBA transition, they will still be high draft picks. The Thompsons’ pre-NBA career rates at an 8.

Ideal NBA Ecosystem

While most draft boards project Amen going slightly ahead of Ausar, the brothers are likely looking at similar suitors. Everything we discussed last time regarding Amen’s fit with the Rockets and Pistons applies to Ausar, as well.

In my estimation, Ausar’s ideal landing spot is in Indiana with the Pacers. Rick Carlisle’s squad already has a floor general in Tyrese Haliburton, and Thompson projects wonderfully as a secondary playmaker at small forward in lineups that feature a three-guard lineup of Haliburton, Thompson and Benn Mathurin.

If Ausar doesn’t end up with the Pacers, he would bring a much-needed dose of athleticism and versatility to an uninspiring Washington Wizards squad in desperate need of a personality/direction. Thompson would immediately become that squad’s most exciting prospect since the Wall/Beal heyday.

The Magic might elect to use one of its two lottery picks on a Thompson brother, as well. Ausar is slightly duplicative of Markelle Fultz, but he is on a similar age curve to franchise cornerstones Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Ausar would bring some playmaking creativity and defensive switchability to the fun squad they’re assembling in Orlando.

On a scale from 1-10, Thompson’s situational dependence rates at a 9. Much like Amen, Thompson is raw and it will take time before he is ready to maximize his potential. However, Ausar might find his NBA niche earlier than his brother, given his defensive upside and slightly better shooting mechanics.


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