Ausar Thompson’s weakness, dominance and Rookie of the Year

Detroit Pistons forward Ausar Thompson (9) Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons forward Ausar Thompson (9) Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Victor Wembanyama
Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Presumptive Rookie of the Year Victor Wembanyama just scored 38 points in a brilliant performance, leading the San Antonio Spurs to victory over the favored Suns in Phoenix. It was quite an effort, unmatched by any rookie thus far this season. Included in his offensive outburst was accuracy from deep, where he knocked down 3-of-6 attempts. He also snagged 10 boards. It seems a near-impossible task for Ausar to actually knock Wemby from the mountaintop, but the season is young. As it stands, the #1 overall pick is proving to be every bit the generational talent he was touted to be.

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After Victor Wembanyama, the Rookie of the Year race is wide open

Once we get past Wembanyama, things get more interesting as it doesn’t take long before Thompson merits mention. Oklahoma City Thunder center Chad Holmgren is probably the second most impressive rookie, although he’s of the redshirt variety and may have a bit of an edge because of the additional year of NBA coaching. Holmgren is scoring 15.8 ppg, pulling in 7.2 rebounds and also leading all rookies with 2.6 blocks per game. Ausar isn’t too bad at blocking shots himself, as his average of 1.8 bpg has him positioned as the third-best rookie.

Brandon Miller, the 2nd overall pick of the 2023 draft is racking up 15.5 points per game (third best among rookies), while 3rd overall pick Scoot Henderson is managing just 8.8 ppg.

Ausar’s brother Amen, who was taken one pick sooner and is now a Houston Rocket, is getting considerably fewer minutes than his twin brother, and therefore his numbers are nowhere as good.

A small handful of the more highly touted rookies are, in fact, outscoring Ausar – as was to be expected. But it’s the edge that Ausar has on many if not most of them in the other important categories that is telling the early story. He’s giving the Detroit Pistons some big minutes and has earned his spot in the starting lineup. He’s also in the process of earning his place in the upper echelon of rookies. While he has areas he needs to improve in, he’s already established himself as a vital, impact player who perfectly fits the mold of Detroit basketball.

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