NBA Mock Draft: 4 boldest prospect swings Trail Blazers could take

GG Jackson, South Carolina
GG Jackson, South Carolina /
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Amen Thompson could be a franchise-altering guard or a potential 2023 NBA Draft bust.
Amen Thompson, City ReapersDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Amen Thompson, Overtime Elite

Amen Thompson may be the most athletic, explosive player in the entire class and, at 6-7, those physical attributes stand out even more.

Thompson and his brother, Ausar, are consistently mocked in the top-five by draft experts. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer likens Amen to a “tall Ja Morant or beanpole Zion Williamson” because of incredible athleticism and ability to be playmaker.

Amen is a terrific on-ball defender who can force turnovers and flash from one end of the floor to the other in transition. He’s a blur, but he doesn’t go so fast that he loses control and just chucks passes everywhere. He’s smart, calculated, and has the apparent ability to slow his brain down, even when his body is flying.

He can start and stop on a dime and use his length to finish near the rim, although his slim frame makes it difficult for him to play through contact. He was able to create his own shot with Overtime Elite – a step down from the G League Ignite or college basketball – but he can’t make most of them and doesn’t show a ton of promise in terms of improving as a shooter.

He’s limited in the half court as a scorer, but his physical tools have carried him to this point.

That athleticism and skill set make him an incredibly intriguing prospect; but the lack of competition as a 20-year-old playing in a league with players two, three, or four years younger than him is worrisome, especially if a team wants him to contribute right away.

The Blazers wouldn’t, though, and allowing Amen to develop alongside Sharpe could pay major dividends if he reaches his potential. There’s just a high variance between that sky-high ceiling and low-lying floor.