The addition of center Andrew Bynum figured to hurt the fantasy value of some of the Cavs big men this season. A guy, who when healthy, can still play at a relatively high level, and would push guys like Tristan Thompson down in minutes. Almost 30 games later, and Thompson is finding himself on the court quite a bit, which is resulting in some sneaky good fantasy production in 2013.
The Cavs fan in me is quite happy.
Many pegged Thompson as a breakout star last season, as he flirted with some serious fantasy potential. He showed the type of player he can be last January, when he averaged an outstanding 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per contest. Through 28 games in 2013, he isn’t quite posting those numbers, but he’s been solid, especially as of late. During the month of December, Thompson is averaging a strong 14 points and 9.9 rebounds per contest.
December Game Log
An elite rebounder, Thompson has posted 13 games with double-digit boards, and his 11 double-doubles ranks 20th in the NBA, tied with the likes of Anthony Davis. Rebounding is the key to Thompson’s fantasy success, and using NBA.com’s Player Tracking statistics, I took a look at just how busy the third-year player has been on the glass this year.
Let’s take a math lesson, shall we? 2 plus 2 equals four. Simple, right? Well, in fantasy, talent plus opportunity equal fantasy success.
Luckily, Thompson has a fair helping of both.
With 9.7 rebounds per game, Thompson currently ranks 14th in the league in rebounding. Very, very quietly, I might add. Of course, with rebounding, positioning is key, and Thompson has been in the right place all season long. On the year, Thompson is averaging a healthy 17.1 rebounding chances per game, which is the eighth-most in the league, ahead of guys like Joakim Noah, DeMarcus Cousins and LaMarcus Aldridge. He is executing on 56.7 percent of those chances, which explains why he is among the top-15 players in rebounds this year. It’s even more impressive when you consider that a handful of those rebounds per game (4.2) are contested ones, which just shows how effective and dominant he is on the glass. Combined all of this with the fact that he is logging 32.5 minutes per game, and there is plenty of volume to appeal fantasy owners here. The Cavaliers are shooting a rather weak 42.8 percent from the field this season, which ranks fifth-worst in the NBA. That allows Thompson to see more offensive rebound potential than almost any other power forward in the league right now.
Thompson is going to continue to log all the minutes he can handle, As a young, crucial piece to the Cavaliers’ success, he’ll play a major role for the rest of the season. He already is playing a ton of minutes, but imagine if/when Andrew Bynum or Anderson Varejao go down with injury. He could wind up posting a double-double on a nightly basis.
The talent is there, for sure.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.