Tristan Thompson is quietly making waves in the playoffs
The NBA’s defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for a third consecutive season.
There have been several contributing factors to Cleveland’s success in the postseason. LeBron James has been on an absolute scoring rampage, averaging 34.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and a postseason-leading 2.1 steals per game. Kyrie Irving has been dishing the rock at a solid rate, posting 5.8 per contest. And let’s not forget Kyle Korver‘s three-point shooting (49% from downtown).
All of these are great stats, but there is one player who might be getting overlooked.
Through Cleveland’s first eight bouts of the 2016-17 postseason, Tristan Thompson is averaging just under five offensive rebounds per game (second in the playoffs), allowing him to rack up 7.8 points per game in put-backs. “Double-T,” as Thompson is known, has also improved his game on the defensive end of the floor. While it’s true that he isn’t the tallest center in the NBA, Thompson, 6’10”, is still contesting the fifth most shots per game.
According to Jeff Nomina of WaitingForNextYear.com, Thompson has also managed to avoid foul trouble, averaging just 2.3 per game.
“Of centers playing more than 30 minutes per game, that 2.3 fouls per game is the second least, behind only Boston’s Al Horford. With Thompson on the court, the Cavaliers have a 96.5 defensive rating (points given up per 100 possessions), the next closest Cavalier is J.R. Smith at 102.1.”
If you’re in the camp of Thompson haters, you may want to reconsider your stance. He doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. As a matter of fact, his 10.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs point to just the opposite.