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2023 NBA Draft Profile: How does Ausar Thompson fit with the Detroit Pistons?

Overtime Elite prospect Ausar Thompson has the potential to be the wing defender that the Detroit Pistons need.

Ausar Thompson drives to the basket during a game with Overtime Elite’s City Reapers
| Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing is worse than being compared to your sibling. Most brother duos compete for better grades, being the first picked in gym class, and likely over a heated game of NBA 2K or two. For the Thompson twins, the 2023 NBA Draft is the culmination of their brotherly comparison, even though it shouldn’t be. Amen Thompson is widely considered the better prospect over his twin brother Ausar, thanks to Amen’s explosive athleticism and potential as a lead ball-handler in the NBA. For the latter Thompson twin, Ausar’s promise at the professional level should not come anything close to being overshadowed.

Ausar is debatably the best defensive prospect in this draft class that isn’t named Victor Wembanyama, thanks to the sure-fire No. 1 pick’s ability to alter shots from anywhere on the floor.

Both Thompson twins spent their pre-draft career playing with the Overtime Elite program, where Ausar averaged 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.4 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game during his most recent season and was awarded OTE’s regular season MVP award. Ausar was also named the Finals MVP for the second straight season after winning his second championship with OTE’s City Reapers where he averaged 21.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.8 steals per game during the playoffs. He has won every MVP award at OTE throughout the program’s first two seasons.

There is a caveat to consider when evaluating both Thompsons—the competition that they both went up against in OTE may call for some additional adjusting once they are put in front of NBA players. But, the attributes that Ausar has shown throughout his development show tremendous upside for a long career as a serious player in the league. He very well may be the best wing defender in the upcoming draft class.

Defensive Ability

Ausar can get up, which contributes to his shot blocking ability as a 6-foot-7 guard/wing. He is active in passing lanes and can take it the distance and finish in transition, which is where he really thrives.

Being able to get steals and block shots at a high rate will help Thompson lead to instant offense for any team that he lands with. When he finds himself alone on the fast break after steals, there’s no telling what he can do.

Ausar’s athleticism and sound defense has been present throughout his entire time with OTE. He sniffs out and attacks the ball while on defense. Thanks to his frame and ability to contest shots, he should be able to guard positions one through three in the NBA.

He is able to get to the right spots on defense which leads to an impressive rebounding volume from his position.

The slight when it comes to defense, for both Thompson’s, is that their athletic ability could result in outshining true potential after playing in an overall weaker league. Nevertheless, Ausar has shown the chops to be a positive defender both on and off-the-ball at the next level by fighting through screens and using his frame to step into passing lanes.

Offensive Ability

The innate athleticism helps Ausar make unique plays off the wing on the offensive end. He already has a great finishing ability and often makes the right play in transition. There should be optimism for Ausar as a playmaker in the NBA, as he played primarily off-the-ball with OTE. That said, he won’t be expected to be a primary ball-handler in an NBA offense, nor would he thrive in that area.

Ausar will likely provide the greatest offensive impact on the wing. He has shown a strong ability as a cutter and can be a lob threat from the outside. This will help Ausar bring in long offensive rebounds over bigger players, thanks to his 7-foot-0 wingspan.

As a shooter, there is certainly room to grow. This past season at OTE, he shot 48.1 percent from the field, 29.8 percent from three, and converted on only 66.2 percent of his free throw attempts, which can often be looked at to determine how a prospect’s shot will translate to the next level.

Shooting mechanics have been a point of concern for both Thompsons. Of course, this is an area that both will work on as they ramp up in the league. If you are comparing the brothers, Ausar’s shot seems to be the more mechanically sound. We have seen his shooting stroke improve as well. In the OTE playoffs this season, he shot 38.5 percent from three on 7.8 attempts per game, a large increase from his 29.8 percent clip during the regular season on a much lower 3-point shot volume. This will be a focus area for Ausar to continue to grow, and hopefully further develop over time.

He likely won’t ever be a primary scorer within an NBA offense, which he doesn’t need to be. Ausar can likely look to a ceiling of a complimentary star on offense as a scorer and facilitator.

Fit with the Pistons

Ausar is more of an NBA wing compared to Amen, who will likely thrive in a lead-guard role. Ausar likely has more on-ball potential than we have seen during his time at OTE, where the offense ran through Amen more often than not. But, I do think that he can reach his greatest offensive potential playing off-the-ball, which would bode well in Detroit with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey already in house.

Due to this, to me, Ausar is the better fit for Detroit of the two Thompson twins. He may be a bit too rich to jump for with the fifth pick—however, I believe that he would be a great immediate plug-in to the roster and would fill a glaring need.

If Amen is chosen by the Houston Rockets with the fourth pick, the Pistons have a really interesting decision to make between Jarace Walker, Cam Whitmore, and Ausar. All three prospects can play the wing, and bring different benefits with their style of play. Ausar may be the best defender of the group, and brings playmaking potential along with his ability to find exciting ways to put the ball in the hoop. Should the Rockets favor Whitmore at four, I think there is a real chance that Detroit could lean towards Ausar with the next pick, even over his twin brother.

Still, at this point, I believe that the most likely scenario that lands Ausar in Detroit on draft night is through a trade. If GM Troy Weaver can swing a trade with the Orlando Magic or Indiana Pacers that would bring pack the sixth or seventh overall pick, Ausar could then turn out to be the best player available once the Pistons are on the clock. Detroit may even have Ausar higher on their draft board compared to other teams, which could leave them smiling should he fall into their lap after trading back, or just staying put and selecting him at number five.

Ausar can likely contribute to an NBA roster on day one. As a versatile defender and the potential to become a strong offensive wing, the fit for him in Detroit’s system is there.

All Overtime Elite season stats according to OTE’s stats page, unless otherwise noted.

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