This is not Byron Scott’s first rodeo. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get things done. Let us put aside the fact that he has never won an NBA Championship as a coach. He tutored Chris Paul to the early stages of greatness and I am more than sure he can do the same with Kyrie Irving.
Irving will be fine with hardwork and time, but spectators biggest issue with Cleveland’s draft choices rest with the decision to draft Tristan Thompson as the number four pick overall. A lot of people do not see exactly why Thompson was chosen or why Dan Gilbert and co. think he was good enough to pass up players like Brandon Knight and Jonas Valanciunas. Byron Scott backs his choice up with a simple philosophy:
“We must get better on defense.”
When you put things in that light, maybe it will be easier to fathom why Thompson was the man for the job.
At Texas, Tristan Thompson became the Longhorns’ headliner. He never took a single shot behind the three-point line, but he contributed in ways that even eclipsed the efforts of Kansas’ Morris twins at one point in the season.
He only scored 12 points in their first meeting, but had 5 blocks, more than the entire Kansas team. After an 0-10 start by the Longhorns, it appeared as if the game were over long before the second half had even come to fruition. Thompson had two blocks in the first half on close range shots, including a blocked dunk on behalf of Elijah Johnson. His other three came at the expense of Thomas Robinson and Markieff Morris.
His defensive game is what attracted Cleveland to him and he is without a doubt an asset to the franchise.
We must remember that when you are picking at such a high position in the draft, it has not yet come to who is the best player available. The decision still lies with who can achieve the role that your team is downward sloping in the most.
When Byron Scott says that the Cavaliers must get better on defense, it is not to hear himself talk.
He not only wants Kyrie Irving to improve defensively, because we cannot have Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook constantly blowing past him. But, he wants to get everything he can from Thompson as well. Citing what I just revisited about his season with Texas, there is a lot to gain. Cleveland had encountered the same problem that the NY Knicks did with Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Neither of those star athletes was willing to defend, and the Cavaliers were playing men that were not able or willing to do so either.
That has to change.
Tristan Thompson may not have been the best player left in the draft, but he gives Cleveland exactly what they need.
Who knows? Maybe he can reach back to his days as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings, where he specialized in perimeter shooting, and help improve Thompson’s 38.8% free throw percentage.