Tristan Thompson has been playing some of the best basketball of his career in these playoffs. He’s coming off a stellar series against the Celtics where he averaged 11.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. For the entirety of these playoffs, Tristan has shot 60% from the floor and 67% from the free throw line. It seems like he’s gotten hot at the perfect time.
The former Longhorn plays a crucial role here against this Warriors team. His rebounding will determine the series. The Warriors are notorious for their ability to push the ball in transition and kill you from three when they get offensive rebounds. The Cavs will need Tristan to be crashing the boards hard all series. Tristan was able to thrive against the undersized Celtics last series but is going to have his hands full against these Warriors big men.
Aside from his rebounding, if Tristan can continue averaging double digit scoring that would be a massive boost for the Cavs. He’s always going to get favorable match ups on offense with all the focus directed towards LeBron, Kyrie and Love. Tristan has never been called upon to carry the load offensively because he doesn’t need to. It would alleviate a lot of pressure for the Cavs main offensive contributors if Tristan can keep up his efficient shooting on the floor and from the free throw line.
Since Ty Lue hasn’t been playing Channing Frye, LeBron has been running the five as their backup center. It will be interesting to see how the Cavs use Tristan and LeBron on defense if they keep Channing on the bench. They’ll look to have LeBron guard the center as much as he can to free him up defensively. That would leave Tristan on Draymond when both he and LeBron are in the game. Whomever it is that ends up guarding Draymond, though, I hope they’re wearing a cup.
I believe Tristan will be the X-Factor is this series.
If the Cavs want to win another title, they’re going to need the Big 3 to be playing their best. The Warriors are just too good to win without Kyrie, LeBron and Love scoring. Even thatmight not be enough, but that’s where Tristan comes in. They’re going to need the production he’s given them on both sides of the ball all playoffs if the Cavs want to repeat as champions again this season.
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report
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