Tristan Thompson could be odd man out in Cavs center rotation

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 11: Tristan Thompson
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 11: Tristan Thompson /
1 of 6
CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 11: Tristan Thompson
CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 11: Tristan Thompson /

Tristan Thompson’s 2017-18 season was, well, confusing…

Coming off a 2017-2018 campaign where the Cleveland Cavaliers ironman grabbed a career-high 3.7 offensive rebounds in 78 games, this year’s version went for only 2.4 in 53.

It was the worst regular season of Thompson’s career. For the first time in seven years, he was plagued by pesky injuries and off-court distractions until he fell out of Cleveland’s playoff rotation. The Cavs outscored their opponents by 7.4 more points per 100 possessions with Thompson sitting on the sideline.

But when the Cavs faced a game seven in the first round against the Indiana Pacers, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue started him at center. In 34 minutes, Thompson notched both a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) and a spot back into the lineup.

Next year’s big man depth

This upcoming year, Thompson will compete for minutes in a Cavaliers rotation that goes five-deep—Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Ante Zizic, Channing Frye, and himself.

Although the former fourth overall pick became Cleveland’s trusted starting five against the Warriors in the Finals this year, the team ultimately getting swept along with LeBron James leaving in free agency make that brief stint forgettable.

Besides, the Cavs are a team situated in a much different context now than they were in June:

Kevin Love now poses as the face of the franchise after signing a near-max extension; Larry Nance Jr. and the team have expressed interest in committing to each other for the future.

Ante Zizic impressed at Summer League and, according to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, was unavailable in trade talks this summer. Channing Frye recently re-signed to the club on which he helped win the 2016 Championship.

By the end of next year, there’s a chance Tristan Thompson could more likely be on the cover of a tabloid than anything NBA-related.