1. Don’t rule out the possibility of Tristan Thompson starting at center. While it has been widely assumed Anderson Varejao would start in the middle, a theory has been floated within the organization recently that by starting Thompson, coach David Blatt could better limit Varejao’s minutes and help protect him from injury. There is plenty of time to make that final decision, but it’s worth noting the idea has at least been discussed.
2. Regardless of whether he starts, Thompson is expected to play a lot of minutes at center this season. He is undersized there, but athletic enough to handle the job. He has played there off and on throughout his first three years in the league.
Lloyd, like many others, has noted the team’s lack of depth in the middle, with just Anderson Varejao, Brendan Haywood and a host of free agent possibilities currently in the mix.
Thompson does have a seven-foot wingspan, but the problem with this picture is that Thompson stands at just 6-8. He also possesses a frame that may have trouble managing the NBA big bodies that populate the paint over the course of a season.
However, this wouldn’t be Thompson’s first attempt in the role: he played there during his one collegiate season with the Texas Longhorns, and as a rookie, former coach Byron Scott used him there following a season-ending injury to Varejao.
As noted last night, Thompson is a potential free agent after this season, though his production has been modest in three years of NBA play. The Canadian can certainly enhance his resume with added production from the center spot.
At present, the team’s plan is to have veteran Varejao start at center, given his size and ability to crash the boards. In addition, his chemistry with LeBron James has been re-ignited with the return of the Cavaliers’ prodigal son.
The main problem with that vision, as noted above, is that Varejao has had injury problems over the past few years, and is on the wrong side of 30. In addition, he has had better numbers when he was coming off the bench, usually injecting his own brand of energy into the team.
Therefore, the idea of Thompson starting at center could very well happen. Over the course of the next five weeks, the Cavalier coaching staff will reach their own conclusions, but fans are hoping the team’s incredible run of good luck continues. If it does, the prospect of June basketball at the Quicken Loans Arena gets brighter.