7. Indiana Pacers choose Ausar Thompson
Both Thompson twins could be selected in the top five, but Ausar’s draft range feels wider. The 20-year-old is also an elite athlete, but his twin brother has played as the primary creator. That left Ausar as more of an attacking wing on offense, but he was an on-ball stopper on the Overtime Elite circuit.
Ausar Thompson is 6’6 with a seven-foot wingspan. He can defend guards or switch onto big men. Having that versatility and flexibility is intriguing to any NBA team. The Pacers just finished 26th in defensive rating, and they would love to add a lockdown defender.
Thompson’s offensive game is questionable. He is more of a secondary creator that has struggled to make jumpers. If Ausar is not a floor spacer, can he score as the opposition sags or helps off of him? His athletic ability should help, but his jumper has to improve for the 20-year-old to reach his ceiling.
Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has had success improving jumpers back to his days in Dallas. Can he help Ausar iron out his shot? Thompson has made some mechanical tweaks during the pre-draft process and that could lead to better results. If he can even hit at a league-average rate, Ausar Thompson has the potential to blossom into a modern 3-and-D wing that every team covets.