Thompson Continues to Build on Career Season


Being the 4th pick in the draft often comes with star expectations. You would think someone averaging 9.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assist through nine seasons would be unworthy for that high of a pick. Yet, rarely do you hear people call Tristan Thompson a bust.

Perhaps it’s because of flameouts Derrick Williams and Jan Vesely selected at 2nd and 6th in the 2011 NBA Draft. Enes Kanter and Bismack Biyombo have also been underwhelming contributors after being picked at 3rd and 7th. The Cavs had the #1 pick, using that to select Kyrie Irving. We all remember the biggest shot of Kyrie’s career. Without Irving, the Cavs wouldn’t have ever won an NBA title.

The same could be said of TT, and that’s why he is not a bust. Thompson’s elite switchability, screens, and offensive rebounding caused countless issues for Golden State and many other opponents the Cavs have faced through the years. Tristan has never needed to put the ball in the basket to be a high-level contributor.

Career Season

Stats have never been capable of showcasing what Tristan can bring to a team. Speaking of stats, though, he’s having a career year. The 6’9″ center is averaging career highs in:

  • points
  • rebounds
  • offensive rebounds
  • assists
  • steals
  • 3-pointers made
  • field goals made
  • minutes

All of this was epitomized by possibly the best game of his career against the Pistons.

A career-high in points, plus clutch baskets and free throws filled out an ultra-impressive game for him, in which he almost single-handedly carried the Cavs to a much-needed win. The game also was an indicator of the leadership that TT has brought to the team this year

Veteran Leader

Tristan Thomspon has been called the “undisputed team leader” multiple times by players and the coaching staff. Throughout Kevin Love’s tantrums, and leaked reports about disfunction in the Cavs locker room, he has stayed committed.

Going from four straight finals alongside a top 2 player the NBA has ever seen, maintaining the longest consecutive games played streak in Cavaliers history, and a relationship with Khloe Kardashian to an ugly breakup, injury-riddled seasons, and being on a team at the bottom of the league can be enough to do anyone in. Yet, he hasn’t bent.

Thompson has been a Cav his whole playing career. This offseason, he will be a free agent. The Cavaliers will have a choice to make, and so will he. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, Tristan is a player that many playoff teams would be eager to have playing for them. At 28 years old, he may be a few years too old to be considered part of Cleveland’s next-gen core.

The Cavs may have other ideas, though. They are interested in keeping him beyond this season. He is invaluable as a leader to this team, and often the only one who keeps everyone from breaking out into a civil war between youngsters and veterans, it seems.

What’s Next for Tristan?

In a free-agent market that is devoid of star power, Tristan Thompson could be one of the more sought after names this summer among competing teams. Cleveland would almost certainly be open to re-signing him. With each and every game played, he becomes more beloved to the city.

At times during LeBron’s second tenure in the wine-and-gold, it seemed almost certain that Tristan would be shipped out in package deals for upgrades at the 5, like DeAndre Jordan or DeMarcus Cousins. That was never the case, and if I had any input, I’d hope it’s still not the case.

The locker room celebration after Tristan Thompson’s career-high game just shows how much of an impact he has had on every player this season.

The Cavaliers have had little to smile about in the past two seasons, but this is sure to put a smile on your face. Thompson has shown improvement in his game in every area this season, from isolation scoring to facilitating to rim-protecting to being a leader. That’s the ty[e of player you want on your team when you’re going through the dark days, someone who will show up every day, work hard, and help develop those around him.

If there’s one player who is the lifeblood of the Cavaliers, then it’s that guy ^. If you’re the GM of the Cavs, you can’t risk getting rid of that.

About Brayden Todd

Recommended for you

Powered by