The 2023-2024 NBA regular season has concluded, paving the way for the playoffs. During this period, NBA awards will be distributed throughout the postseason. For the Houston Rockets, this opens up contention for the NBA Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team honors. Most casual and avid pro basketball fans will agree that Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs, Chet Holmgren of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Brandon Miller of the Charlotte Hornets are the top candidates for Rookie of the Year. While we're at it, let's go ahead and check them off on the All-Rookie First Team. With two slots left, here is why Rockets guard Amen Thompson should take one of them.

Why Amen Thompson deserves All-Rookie slot

Houston Rockets forward Amen Thompson (1) controls the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Arena
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

First off, Thompson was snubbed from the Rising Stars roster during the All-Star game. Getting Rookie First Team honors would be quite a comeback. Overall, he's been fantastic in his first season. Even though he missed a bit over a month, Thompson supremely recovered. In 62 games, the 21-year-old averaged 9.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists on 53.6% shooting. Thanks to the brief injuries of Dillon Brooks and Fred VanVleet, Thompson earned lengthy starting minutes, raising his averages to a double-double, notching 13.3 points, ten rebounds, and 3.5 assists as a starter in 23 games.

Don't forget his two-way potential. Via Cleaning the Glass, Thompson ranked in the 100th percentile on Offensive and Defensive rebounding percentage, 96th on steal percentage, and 93rd on block percentage.

Thompson's first career triple-double

In the final game of the season, the former Overtime Elite guard secured his first career triple-double against the LA Clippers, with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting, eleven rebounds, and ten assists, including three steals and three blocks.

“He [Thompson] continues to take steps every game in some sort of way, “coach Ime Udoka said, following the final game of the season. “Whether it's defending, scoring, stat sheet stuffing. Not surprised, it's the first of many. He finished the season off with a win getting a triple-double. Shows that he has no quit. He continued to play and didn't just pack it in.”

Next man up

Drafted as a prototypical playmaker, Thompson embraced change to his game when the Rockets needed him. Most rookies aren't used to a change in habit. When big man Alperen Sengun went down with a season-ending injury in early March, Thompson often started as an undersized center standing formidably against challenging big men such as Wembanyama and Holmgren.

When Dillon Brooks was out, Thompson took over his role with ease, displaying his positional versatility, heightened pace on fast breaks and disruptive perimeter defense.

While Eason became known as a “Swiss Army Knife” in the rotation, Thompson also demonstrated this capability after Eason was sidelined, along with exceptional passing. Thompson's development of a consistent jump shot will further elevate his game. It's only a matter of time until he develops a consistent jump shot. Then he'll become unstoppable.

Via Michael Shapiro of Chron, Rockets assistant coach Ben Sullivan mentions, “He's [Thompson] been really open and receptive to whatever we've asked him, wherever we've put him. He kind of embraces whatever role can help the group. … He can make a real impact even without the ball in his hands.”

NBA All-Rookie First Team competition

Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski (2) during the second quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Chase Center
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Thompson faces stiff competition from Jaime Jacques Jr. of the Miami Heat and Brandin Podziemski of the Golden State Warriors. Portland Trailblazers guard and third overall pick Scoot Henderson might have a puncher's chance, but his poor efficiency and liability on a debilitating Blazers team doesn't help his case. Both Podziemski and Jaquez have more games under their belt compared to Thompson.

Jaquez, in particular, blossomed right out of the gate during the first few months of the season before cooling off a bit after the All-Star break. For what it's worth, he is a definitive pick for the fourth slot.

Podziemski is a contender for the fifth spot, mainly because of his shooting consistency and ability to take charges on defense. He also started in 28 games. Not to mention the fact that the Warriors are in the Play-In tournament.

However, Thompson has the edge in turnover percentage, starting stats, and contains more win shares over his two competitors, via Basketball Reference. Insert him in virtually any position and expect nothing but consistency.

The only downside for Houston's fourth overall pick is availability early in the season and shooting consistency. Still, if selected, the Thompson twin will stand alongside Rockets teammate Jalen Green for All-Rookie First Team honors.