5 Players drafted ahead of Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II that he's already outplayed

Nov 19, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II
Nov 19, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Amen Thompson

Original Draft Position: 4th

Unfortunately for Amen Thompson, injuries have derailed the start of his career. In only four appearances, the athletic guard has averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.

Amen, alongside his twin Ausar, was without question a top-five selection. While Amen has yet to perform, Ausar has displayed dominant traits.

However, we'll focus more on Amen Thompson's lack of contributions. The athletic wing has been injured twice in NBA action. First in the Summer League and second in game four of the NBA season.

Thompson's early injury history is already becoming troublesome. His athletic and sometimes dangerous playstyle has already ceded multiple ankle injuries. Thompson's elite acrobatics will always be cause for concern as injury is far more likely.

While Dereck Lively II has already missed time with an injury, he returned one game later to start for the Mavs. Not to say Lively II and Thompson's injuries were similar, but it's worth pointing out a lower-usage, yet highly efficient player like Lively II is less susceptible to injury.

The Rockets will likely look back and rejoice at the Thompson pick. As for now, his contributions have been limited. Injuries and lack of playing time pose as obstacles for the uber-athletic wing.

Houston had already made large financial commitments to two forwards before Thompson came into the picture. The Rockets signed Dillon Brooks in 2023 and drafted Jabari Smith Jr. in 2022 to solidify the forward spots.

Without a clear-cut path to playing time, Thompson may need to wait at least a year before he gets a shot at significant minutes. To make matters worse for Thompson, the Rockets are 8-6, thus changes are not of the essence.