Coming into the night of the 2013 NBA Draft, everyone thought that they had a pretty clear grasp on what the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to do with the number one overall pick. The general consensus was that they would select Nerlens Noel, but if they got real crazy, they could potentially select Alex Len as well. The Cavs got way crazier than that.
By now virtually everyone knows that Cleveland threw a major curveball right from the start in the draft by selecting Anthony Bennett. Though it was shocking, Bennett is a prospect with a ton of potential and a guy that could realistically be a contributor to the Cavs as a power forward next season.
As the Cavaliers integrate Bennett into their system, though, they have to be careful that they don’t leave Tristan Thompson out in the cold. Though Thompson struggled when he first came into the league, he’s really come around as of late.
Thompson played in 60 games during his rookie campaign, averaging 8.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and one block in 23.7 minutes per game, but shot only 43.9 percent from the floor. However, in his sophomore season he started all 82 games for Cleveland and averaged 11.7 points, 9.4 boards, 1.3 assists and 0.9 blocks in 31.3 minutes per game while also improving his shooting efficiency to 48.8 percent from the floor.
There are still a lot of areas that Thompson has to improve upon, but it’s also clear that he is growing and is willing to put in the time and work to make that happen. The Cavs have to effectively shuffle him and Bennett in their rotation so that both players are getting the experience that they need to maximize their potential as players in the league. It will be interesting to see how they handle the situation moving forward.