The Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Eastern Conference this NBA season. While the team still struggles with on- and off-court issues, it looks like the return of Kevin Love in the roster proved right the idea of LeBron James when they signed him up. Now, the triple threat of Kyrie Irving, Love and King James makes the Cleveland Cavaliers a scary team to face in the NBA finals - a situation soon to be in the hands of either the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs. Given the chemistry of the team at the moment, fans started to question a certain decision they made during the offseason: the mammoth contract of Tristan Thompson.
With the NBA playoffs 2016 heating up, the Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to dominate the Eastern Conference over the Toronto Raptors despite the surging performances of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. The LeBron James team is also anticipated to keep their top spot amid the dangers posed by Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside and Luol Deng of the Miami Heat as well as the Atlanta Hawks of Al Horford. So, is Tristan Thompson really relevant in the plays of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the hardwood court?
"Even though he was just 24 at the time and was coming off a long Cavs playoff run that accentuated the value of his grinding play and offensive rebounding ability, he seemed to most like a known commodity with limited upside," noted Craig Battle of Sportsnet, referring to Tristan Thompson and his ability to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers. He added, "Thompson isn't a true centre and doesn't have gaudy block totals to belie above-average rim protection. He also rarely shoots outside of five feet, which makes him a square peg in the round hole of today's stretch-four loving NBA. What's more, he plays fewer minutes than just about all of the guys paid comparably."
However, it looks like Tyronn Lue has a secret plan. With highly aggressive teams the Cleveland Cavaliers will be playing in the playoffs, the team's head coach opted to unleash Thompson in the starting lineup. With the Canadian star no longer just going off the bench in the succeeding games, Lue appears to be recreating the winning lineup David Blatt used last season when Kevin Love was injured. Was this the plan of the Cleveland Cavaliers all along?
"It's the same thing, it makes no difference," commented Thompson of his new starting role on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. He added, "Come in, play hard, rebound, defend, finish around the rim. The same thing I was doing with the second unit. It's just that you got to do it from tipoff instead of just reading the game to get a feel. You got to go out there and set the tone. So, stay out of foul trouble and do what I need to do."