Houston Rockets’ Amen Thompson Showing Immense Potential

Amen Thompson, Rockets, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The NBA Play-In Tournament field in the Western Conference is far from set. There are teams catching fire in recent weeks that will shake up the standings, with the Houston Rockets looking to crash the party.

Just a few weeks ago, the Rockets 2023-24 campaign looked to be dead in the water. They were well under the .500 mark and emerging star center Alperen Sengun suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

But, the Rockets didn’t let that injury stop them. They came together and have instead rallied since that point. Houston had an 11-game winning streak snapped over the weekend by the Dallas Mavericks, but they remain only two games behind the Golden State Warriors for the final spot in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

During their recent hot streak, Jalen Green has received a lot of attention for his high level of play. Green, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, has improved across the board since Sengun went down, taking on a larger role and shining.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Amen Thompson & Houston Rockets Updates

His shooting efficiency has been on the rise and head coach Ime Udoka commented on how he is improving in other areas of the game. Defensively, rebounding and playmaking have all gotten better for Green, who is playing with more consistently.

But, Green is far from the only player who has taken his game to another level. Joining him in the ascension has been rookie Amen Thompson. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft has really come alive of late, showcasing incredible two-way potential.

Over his last 15 games, Thompson’s production has been on the rise. He is playing 26.4 minutes per game and scoring 13.1 points on an impressive 61.7 true shooting percentage. What makes that even more impressive is that Thompson isn’t a threat from the perimeter to score.

During the 15-game stretch, he is making only 11.1 percent of his 3-point attempts, as shooting has been a weak area all season. Despite that, he is still finding a way to contribute offensively using his athleticism and explosiveness to get to his spots to score.

Where he is making his greatest impact is defensively. Standing 6’7” with a 7-foot wingspan, Thompson is already a terror on that end of the floor for opponents to deal with. He is a multi-positional defender and effective whether it is a guard or wing he is matched up against.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Amen Thompson & Houston Rockets Updates

In the last 15 games, he has averaged 2.1 STOCKS per game while pulling down 8.2 rebounds. A wing rebounding at that level is a luxury not many teams have but it provides the Rockets with plenty of lineup flexibility as they can go smaller knowing Thompson will hit the glass aggressively.

Only scratching the surface of his potential, Thompson’s ceiling is quite high. Cleaning up his ball-handling will help take his playmaking to another level, as he has a real chance to develop into a modern-day point-forward.

What will decide just how high of a ceiling he can possess is his shooting. Making only 14.3 percent of his 3-pointers this season, that will cap how much of an impact he can have on the court if he doesn’t improve. 

His 67.9 free throw percentage isn’t overly encouraging, but an NBA coach can teach him how to fix his mechanics and become a better shooter. The other skills that he possesses cannot be taught, making him an intriguing player for the Rockets in the future.

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