With that out of the way, let’s delve into what Ausar is doing to get fans excited, and arguably creep up the rankings in the battle for Rookie of the Year.
Area where Ausar Thompson is dominating for the Detroit Pistons
The #5 overall pick is closer to averaging a double-double than any other rookie in the league. After six contests, he sits at 11 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. For as ugly as some of his shooting percentages are (he is a decent free throw shooter who has knocked down 78.9 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe), his counting stats are impressive. Among all rookies, he is fifth in scoring, first in rebounding, and second in assists with 4.0 apg. He has the look of a do-it-all glue guy one minute, and a bonafide superstar the next.
Ausar Thompson could rebound and pass his way into the Rookie of the Year race
If we take a moment to zero in on his rebounding proficiency, it’s hard not to appreciate how he excels in this regard despite being a 6-foot-7 wing that is often stationed in the backcourt. Despite playing roughly the same amount of time each game, Thompson is out-rebounding both Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren.
Ausar was well known for being able to pass the basketball since his days with the Overtime Elite, and his excellence at doing so is now showing up in the NBA. If he had been a rookie last season he would have been in the top five distributors, just ahead of last season’s Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, but behind Detroit’s own Jaden Ivey (who racked up 5.0 apg). Furthermore, he would have led all rookies in rebounding, just barely outpacing another Piston in Jalen Duren (9.1 rpg). Going back to Banchero for a moment, it’s worth noting that he shot just 29.7 percent from three as a rook and still finished at the top of his class from a broad perspective.
Ausar Thompson remains a work in progress, but he’s already indicating that he is a truly special talent who has just scratched the surface of what he can accomplish.