ATLANTA — Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson are the two top players in the 2023 NBA draft and did enough in their two-game showcase in Las Vegas to solidify themselves at the top. Right on their heels is a pair of 6-foot-7 versatile guards from Overtime Elite, twins Amen and Ausar Thompson.
The Thompson twins have been professional basketball players for two years after signing with OTE in their inaugural season. NBA scouts have seen their development since 2021 and international scouts had time to evaluate the pair earlier this fall when OTE traveled to Spain and Serbia for several exhibition games against tough competition.
"The first thing that stands out is their athleticism and how quick both of them are," one NBA executive told Yahoo Sports. "The change of pace and the first step is really impressive."
Over 80 scouts were in the building as Overtime Elite conducted its pro day Tuesday afternoon. Thirty players ran through a series of shooting drills, a four-on-four continuous drill and three games of 5-on-5 scrimmages in four hours. Both Amen and Ausar excelled at getting to the rim and were both particularly impressive defensively, locking down opponents, forcing turnovers and blocking shots. It's evident that they both impact the game positively and do a lot of little things really well.
Thompson Twins went OFF at Pro Day 🔥 pic.twitter.com/NDl0GoiDPp
— Overtime Elite (@OvertimeElite) October 26, 2022
Every scout was plugged in when Ausar and Amen were going through shooting drills, particularly watching their 3-point shot. It's the biggest area of improvement for both, and there was a little bit of pressure to showcase some development in the long-range jumper.
"There’s more riding on the line this year with the draft in June, but at the end of the day, I have to be the best version of me and stay calm if I get rattled," Ausar told Yahoo Sports. "This might be surprising, but I am feeling more confident as a shooter."
Both Amen and Ausar were streaky from 3-point range during the drills but the shooting mechanics have improved from where they were at a year ago. Ausar strung together four 3-pointers in a row at one point but also airballed a couple shots during various catch-and-shoot drills. Amen looked more polished coming off the dribble from deep and when he missed, they weren't bad misses.
"This has been a year and half of work," Amen told Yahoo Sports. "First, it was just getting the rotation right. If you look at old videos, the ball was barely even spinning. And then it was getting the placement right. We’re still working on the base and making it more fluid and shooting with confidence."
It might not be raining threes in the gym yet, but it's not from lack of work. The twins are incredibly disciplined workers and are committed to getting better day in and day out. They have two workouts every day, outside of their team practice, that are largely dedicated to shooting.
"I'm not necessarily worried about their shot at this point in the process," one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. "They're both hard workers and if they stay in the gym, the shot will come."
Being meticulous students of the game started at a young age. When Amen and Ausar were 10 years old, their dad, Troy, made them watch every game they played from every AAU tournament.
"My dad and mom would film every single game and we would watch every game as soon as we got in the car to go home," Amen said. "Back in the day, AAU tournaments, it’s three games a weekend and long drives so it’s a habit we started early. Even now, I’ll watch film immediately after a game." Ausar echoed Amen.
The twins were invited to participate in Stephen Curry's SC Select camp over the summer and as soon as the rosters were released, Ausar went on YouTube and watched everything he could on the 24 other players who were attending camp. Something not a lot of 18-year-olds do before a two-day skills camp.
"Before I play anyone, I like to see their tendencies and habits on the court," Ausar said. "I’m a prideful defender and I play team defense but at the same time, I don’t want my man to score ever."
The twins are ultra competitors and are essentially going through the draft process alone. Because of COVID-19, they didn't play in any national camps or on the AAU circuit in high school. The top prospects in high school typically play at all the same events, whether it's the NBPA Top 100 Camp, USA Basketball minicamp or Nike's Peach Jam. Naturally, friendships are formed off the court and figuring out where to possibly play in college and going through the draft process is something players go through together, after competing on the same court for so many years.
The Thompson twins didn't have that experience and are essentially on an island by themselves. They don't know any other players in their draft class and are just fine with pushing one another to get better.
"It’s fun being on an island," Amen said, smiling. "It’s a good thing I didn’t get a chance to go to a lot of camps [in high school]. I don’t have time for a lot of friends and I can lock in on being a competitor."
The competitive edge definitely sets them apart from other guards in the draft class. The NBA draft is still eight months away, but it's difficult to imagine the duo not being drafted one right after the other, similar to Markieff and Marcus Morris going 13th and 14th overall in 2011. Not only could they get drafted back-to-back, but the Thompson twins have the potential to be the highest-drafted set of twins in NBA history.
There are several teams who have positioned themselves to tank and be in a good spot for a 14% chance to land Wembanyama. Henderson will most likely be the second player off the board with his Ja Morant-like playing style. The Thompson twins aren't a bad consolation prize to any team that falls outside the top two spots with their high IQ, work ethic and versatility.
In a unique and talented draft class, Amen and Ausar have paved their own way to the NBA. Countless hours in the gym and watching film have only helped prepare them for this point in their career.
"I don’t ever want to get too high or too low, I just want to stay the course during this draft process," Ausar said. "I know I have to work and stay in the gym and that’s all Amen and I are going to do until June. After that, the real work begins."