Cleveland Cavaliers: Will Tristan Thompson average a double-double this year?

Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers Tristan Thompson (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to play completely different this season without LeBron. Will that open up Tristan Thompson to be a double-double threat?

With LeBron James leaving, the Cleveland Cavaliers dynamic changes in so many ways, both offensively and defensively.

Whether its production, lineups or matchups, LeBron certainly had an effect on all parts of the game. When looking at the on-court production of players like  J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, though, LeBron’s near omnipotence begs the question: was LeBron their source of success?

Through much of last year, Thomspon didn’t start and he struggled to see the court with the Cavs choosing to start Kevin Love at center. Last season, Thompson started 34 games for the Cavs and clearly wasn’t favored by the staff even when starting.

This year, the Cavs will need a true center since they don’t have the ability to play small-ball; both small-ball forwards, Jeff Green and LeBron, left this offseason.

With Love playing his natural power forward position, the Cavs will need a center to rebound and help with the scoring load.

This year, the Cavaliers will have to alter their lineups to match their style, which is consistent of considerably less small-ball oriented.

Though he is known as a hustle player that creates looks off his offensive rebounding, Thompson can be much more than that.

If the Cavs put Thompson at center, they can run an efficient pick-and-roll with speedy rookie Collin Sexton, allowing the Cavs to space the floor with a combination of Love, Smith, Hill and several others on the other side of the court.

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If given the time, Thompson could legitimately be a double-double threat this year.

Thompson has never averaged a double-double in any season of his career and this would be the perfect opportunity for him to do so.

Expanding his offensive game would go a long way towards his making that a goal a reality though.

Limited offensively, he needs to work on his low-post moves and his jump shooting to warrant the staff playing him more than they did last season.

As a career 60.8 percent free-throw shooter, knocking down shots from the charity stripe is something that he desperately needs to work on as well. Much of Thompson’s shot attempts come near the rim, which results in him going to the line quite a bit.

He must take advantage of those opportunities.

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Thompson’s game is flawed but his unique hustle is what makes him fit this Cavs squad.