Since it is highly likely that the NBA lockout will spill into the first season of Cleveland’s much needed redemption, predictions will be swirling about things like what the East/West Conference playoff pictures will look like and which rookies were worth the first or second round pick.
The only way that rookies like Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams can fulfill their potential in their first season as a pro is if they are two of the front runners for the ROY award. Blake Griffin put up a rookie portfolio, as a true rookie or not, that will be a tough act to follow. But, the situations that these rookies are placed in as far as the rankings of these smaller market franchises will give them the opportunity to be seen because the smaller the town, the bigger the expectancy for a first round pick to make an instantaneous change.
There is only one young man in this year’s draft that I believe, without a doubt, will have no trouble jumping in head first even in the wake of only a half of a season.
I understand that Kyrie Irving’s range of talent is much wider than Thompson’s. In order to judge Thompson’s contributions as a rookie you must first consider the position he is in with the Cavaliers. He is not expected to be the leading scorer of the team. His role is simple: Defense all day, every night.
This is where Thompson thrives and just because he is going to be subjected to heavily conditioned professional athletes, do not expect his heart and mentality for defense to just disappear.
The rookie does not strike me as one to be nervous in the face of a giant and with the determination the franchise and the city is rebounding with, he will be guided in the correct direction. Thompson speaks very humble of his own talents while at Texas and in his introduction interview with the Cleveland Cavaliers kept the exact demeanor.
Thompson’s role is what will make him the front runner for rookie of the year, especially if his efforts, along with Irving’s, cause a playoff push as soon as 2012.