Tristan Thompson, the fourth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft is having the best start to any season he’s had before. Through eight games, the 28 year old is averaging 17.4 PPG, 11.6 RPG and 2.8 APG. I don’t think any Cavalier fans were expecting this kind of start for Double T. The longest tenured Cavalier is proving to be a leader of this team.
Thompson has never exceeded expectations since being a high lottery pick, but he’s never been a bad player, necessarily. His role has expanded even more than last season, where he averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds in only 43 games played. The Cavs’ offense has ran primarily through Thompson and Kevin Love, and has produced three early wins.
What Has Gotten Into Him?
This offseason, we saw clips of so many players trying to expand their games. We had Ben Simmons shooting threes in pick up games, and then saw him make one in a preseason game. Tristan Thompson may have been overlooked. There were some circulating clips of the Canadian working on his jumpshot. Although he’s only attempted two three point shots this year, he actually sunk his first career three pointer on a confident looking stroke. He’s not going to be shooting threes every game, but it’s a good sign to see him working on his jumper. Thompson has been sinking mid range jumpers semi-consistently this season.
Thompson has rebounded well his whole career, but his impact as a two-way player has changed tremendously this year. His 1.6 blocks and 0.9 steals per game are career highs for him. Yes, we are only eight games in, but he has obviously been working harder on defense than in previous year. His offensive game has changed so much as well. Thompson has isolated defenders and posted up much more than he ever has, and he has relied on his trusty jump hook that he makes look so easy.
Can Thompson win Most Improved Player?
Coming into this season, I would never had imagined saying this, but there might be a chance. Double T’s numbers won’t wow anyone, until they compare them to his previous years. It’s like a stunted growth for him. Can Thompson compete with other candidates like Derrick Rose, Malcolm Brogdon and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander? While it is possible, it’s still unlikely. I don’t see any Cavalier players winning a yearly award (aside from maybe All-Rookie Teams), and Thompson’s stats just won’t be at the same level at some of these guys.
The Cavaliers and their fans have to be happy with his progression so far this season, though. Keep your eyes open for more NBA content from me all season long.