As reported yesterday, Tristan Thompson will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a sprained left foot. He landed awkwardly on it during the third quarter of their loss to Milwaukee, 108-92. The Cavs are back in action tonight at home against the Knicks.
The Cavs starting center is averaging a career-high in points (12.0) and rebounds (11.6) per game this season. He’s currently 10th in the NBA in rebounds and 2nd in offensive boards. His rebounding numbers have always been great, but it’s been his improvements on offense this year that have stuck out. The team has an offensive rating of 112.8 with him on the floor and 106.0 when he’s out. In previous years, he’s usually slowed them down on offense. The second chance opportunities he provides and his improved scoring around the rim have been a crucial part of the team’s offense that they’ll now be without.
Overall, it’s a tough blow for a player having an All-Star caliber year.
When you compound Tristan’s injury with Kevin Love’s, Cleveland is in a really tough situation. They’ve lost their two most important veterans and vocal leaders. Channing Frye and the recently acquired Matthew Dellevedova are the only active players on the roster from the 2016 championship team.
You might be asking yourself, how can there be good news from an injury to a key player?
Well, let me tell you. There’s plenty of positive things that will come from this. Sitting with a record of 6-21, it’s not like Tristan being out will ruin their chances of being competitive. They already weren’t going anywhere with him healthy.
In fact, when you’re in the middle of #TankingSZN, this is only going to make it easier to lose.
We’re now going to see a ton of Larry Nance and Ante Zizic. All of the Cavs young core will build even more chemistry with each other than they were before. We’ll get a much better look what the team has in Zizic and see if Nance is able to continue working on compliments to his athletic abilities. Jaron Blossomgame made a mark in his first career start with a double-double, so this will lead to more minutes for him as well.
Not only will Tristan’s absence test the team physically but mentally as well. They’ll be without their biggest leader on court for the next month. This will require players like Colin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Nance to step up and fill into larger leadership roles on the floor.
Aside from giving more minutes to young players, another positive is we’ll also get to see Channing Frye in the rotation once again. I don’t know if he even wants to be out there at the ripe age of 35, but it’s going to be fun to watch none the less.
Even though it’s not going to be pretty most of the time, this is all part of the rebuilding process. The Cavs are fighting for the number one pick in the lottery. Every loss is a good thing, so let’s all be happy when they do.