Tristan Thompson says LeBron James prepared him, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith to lead Cavs
According to Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson, former teammate LeBron James apparently did not leave the Cavs empty-handed. Thompson said that the now-Los Angeles Lakers forward have prepared him, and fellow team veterans Kevin Love and J.R. Smith well enough to take on the leadership role in Cleveland.
“Bron taught me, Kev and JR so much,” Thompson said via Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “It’s like you get to that time in life when your parents are ready to let you out of the house. I wouldn’t say we’re kids or nothing like that because we’re all grown men, but I’m saying he taught us so much on how to be great, how to lead, that it’s time for us to spread our wings and do it on our own now. He definitely prepared us.”
Having spent the past four seasons with The King, the three tenured Cavs have had a first-hand experience of LeBron’s leadership, which has certainly rubbed off on their respective DNAs.
Tristan Thompson still thinks the Cavaliers can make the playoffs sans LeBron James. His experience of playing alongside the Akron-native has given him confidence that he, along with Love and Smith, can lead this younger Cavs team as they try to move on from the post-LeBron era.
Thompson, Love, and Smith, along with the returning Channing Frye, are the only pieces left from the 2016 NBA Champion Cavs, which upset the 73-win Golden State Warriors in the Finals.
As the veterans of the team, they are unquestionably going to be the locker room and vocal leaders of a squad that will pencil in a mix of young pieces such as 2018 eighth overall pick Colin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman, and Rodney Hood, along with steady veterans George Hill and Kyle Korver.
While they are no longer in the hunt for an NBA championship, the motivated Cavs still look to prove that they can remain competitive despite the departure of the best player in the world.