Fourth pick in the 2011 NBA draft Tristan Thompson showed Monday night why the Cleveland Cavaliers took the gamble to take such an under-looked player so high in the draft.
Thompson, who made his first start as an NBA player, scored a team and career-high 27 points in the victory over the New Jersey Nets. Shooting lights out (12-16 from the field and 3-4 from the free throw line) helped to spark the amazing performance that the rookie out of Texas put on at Prudential Center. Thompson’s 27 was only bested by Nets star guard Deron Williams who netted 28.
Thompson also collected 12 boards in 37 minutes, making his amazing game seem even more impressive. It was his fourth double-double game of the season, which is a great feat for a rookie.
The rookie power forward started in an unusual positon, however, as head coach Byron Scott is still looking for someone to fill the untraditional center void that Anderson Varejao left open with his injury earlier in the season.
With the mix of trades and injuries, Thompson could be seeing a lot more playing time as both a starter and off the bench. Most of his baskets came under the hoop and in the key, proving to coach Scott that he can be the player who brings the same amount of energy attacking the hoop and collecting boards on defense and offense as Varejao did earlier this season.