|2011 NBA Draft
|Drafted 4th overall by Cleveland.
|9th December, 2011
|Signed four year, $16,721,270 rookie scale contract with Cleveland. Included team options for 2013/14 and 2014/15.
|19th October, 2012
|Cleveland exercised 2013/14 team option.
|23rd October, 2013
|Cleveland exercised 2014/15 team option.
|22nd October, 2015
|Re-signed by Cleveland to a five year, $82 million contract.
|2010 - 2011
|June 2011 - present
|Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
June 29, 2018
C - 6’9, 238lbs - 27 years old - 7 years of experience
This was a very up-and-down year for Thompson.
At times, he was an important little-things player; an offensive rebounder, defensive rebounder, paint finisher, clean contester, screener and decent hedger who provides some things from the centre spot that the Cavaliers were not otherwise getting. (Kevin Love could do some of that, but his contests don’t mean all that much.) At others, he was unplayable.
The NBA is a match-up league and one increasingly less reliant on post match-ups. And that is what Thompson is. Stepping out only to screen and roll a bit, he is a paint-only finisher who cannot post up, a paint-mainly defender who blocks few shots, and a man of little ball skills. Thompson remains a good defensive rebounder, excellent offensive rebounder and a very timely interior contester who defends the interior better than the few stocks suggests, but considering he is only 27, it has all stagnated a bit.
While the league has developed in this way, Thompson hasn’t. He is still the same player that he always was, except less effective now and more marginalised. And this year, the normally extremely hardy Thompson can add ‘less healthy’ to that. Thompson has a role to play on this and any team still, yet it is one unbefitting of such a salary, even as the cap has grown to soften the blow.
Player Plan: Two years and $36,008,695 remaining, all guaranteed. If LeBron stays, he is needed. If LeBron doesn’t, it is perhaps time to move on, clear the books and roll with more Zizic.
June 29, 2017
PF/C, 6’9, 238lbs, 26 years old, 6 years of experience
With his free throw stroke falling away significantly this past season, Thompson’s limitations in the post on offence increased. He can finish feeds and clean the class, but not create, nor finish from the mid-range. He does defend the perimeter quite well, though, and improved his rim protection this year, making for a versatile defensive player if not a particularly versatile offensive one. Thompson is the best perimeter defensive option amongst the Cavaliers’ frontcourt, and needs flanking rather than replacing.
June 25, 2011
Cleveland picks again next, and the panel, in unison agreeing that they should pick a big, discusses the validity of Jonas Valanciunas's candidacy. Jeff Van Gundy fails so hard on a pronounciation of his name that he ridicules himself, to save Stu Scott from leaving it hanging awkwardly. Nevertheless, Stu finds a way to make it awkward, leaving four seconds of dead air after an unfunny comment from Barry. I'd like to think he was doing this to show up Barry - the truth, however, seems to be that Scott cannot listen to his earpiece and talk out loud at the same time. Must Improve: Organ Synergy.
Bilas raises the debate as to how big of an issue it is that Valanciunas may not join the NBA for a year or two. This, however, is an easy answer. Valanciunas is the second best big in this draft, behind only the Turkish security guard. You certainly wait a year for him. You'd wait two. Three. Five, if he truly pans out. You wait as long as it takes for the appropriate talent. This is reinforced by how much Jonas has improved in the last two years. Two more years like that, and he'll be even better when he does come over. Executives often make short term decisions for the simple reasons that they are on short term contracts themselves, and need to win games in a results-driven industry. But Cleveland can afford to wait it out, and thus they should.
Pick 4: They don't. Cleveland throws the first spanner in the draft's works by taking Tristan Thompson of Texas, at a spot where not even Texas fans's mocks dared to list him.
Bilas talks about Thompson for 45 consecutive seconds, 10 seconds of which were spent on an analysis of his feet. It was a largely favourable analysis, particularly the bit about the feet, but he also drops the ominous sentence, "he needs to learn how to play." The last time this was said about a top five pick, it was Hasheem Thabeet. Hasheem Thabeet did not learn how to play.
That is not to say that Thompson is anything like Thabeet. His skill set is rather unpolished, yet his athleticism, rebounding, intensity and finishing should translate. It is a bit of a reach, perhaps, but it is a reach with potential, and Cleveland may have filled up one position for the long term here. But they still should have taken Jonas.
Bilas also gets a word wrong, inadvertently stating that Thompson "doesn't surrender to a blackout." Straight away, this becomes the best one sentence draft analysis of the past 40 minutes. Tristan Thompson can apparently handle his drink, and his house is well catered for torches.
Thompson's outfit is amazingly well colour co-ordinated with his swanky new Cavaliers hat, and he seems remarkably unsurprised at his selection. He was the only one. Perhaps Cleveland did let one thing be known. It's a shame that Jeanine Edwards didn't get it.
ESPN cut to a commercial break before Jon Barry is allowed to speak on Thompson, sparing us from a speech about how Antawn Jamison will be an obstacle to his success.