He has to make some big strides on offense, for example, but the team must be happy with all of the progress he has already made.
The fourth pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Thompson has started every game for the Cavaliers this season and has been solid. He is currently averaging 8.5 points and 8 rebounds per game. In addition, Thompson is shooting a healthy 46 percent from the field and is averaging 1 assist per game.
His statistics aren’t going to jump out at you and say he is an All-Star, but they also don’t jump out and say he was a reach at the fourth pick in the draft, as many so-called experts said at the time.
At the 2011 NBA Draft, many experts did not expect the 6-9 forward out of Texas to go as high as number four, and some said the Cavaliers could have traded down to get him or possibly should have taken someone else at that spot.
Since that time, he has not necessarily proven the critics wrong, but he has shown the potential to validate the faith the team placed in him by drafting him at that spot.
Last year, Thompson started 25 of the 60 games he played in and averaged 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He had a few big nights and a few quiet nights, but overall he was fairly steady.
That consistency has carried over into this season, and Thompson looks like he is improving, too.
In the Cavaliers loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, for example, Thompson had a double-double as he scored 12 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.
One of the main things he gives the Cavaliers right now is rebounding, thanks to his hustle and determination. He and Anderson Varejao often provide the Cavaliers with extra possessions due their strong offensive rebounding.
Thompson also looks like he is working hard on defense, and he is challenging players in the paint. He is not a great shot blocker and still has a lot to learn on defense, but he is doing a good job.
The one main area he needs to improve on is scoring. It doesn’t look like Thompson can post up effectively, and he mainly scores off of cuts to the basket or off of rebounds. He is good at dunking the ball on the baseline, but he needs to develop some post up moves, as well as a more consistent jump shot.
Currently, the Cavaliers don’t have a strong scoring presence inside, and that hurts them a lot, especially late in games. Thompson or another post player is going to have to improve in this area in order to help the team win, and it will be interesting to see if Thompson can do this or not.
He’s not even halfway through his second season yet, but he is playing well and is helping this young team find its way. Cavaliers fans hope he can also help the team start winning a lot more games soon so that it can get back to the playoffs. If Thompson can do that, he will more than justify the faith the team put in him by drafting him at number four.