#2: Thompson has played in plenty of postseason games
Being on the big stage before is crucial for players in the NBA. You really can’t overstate how important playing in the postseason before is for teams, and especially for individual players. Just look at how much that negatively affected Cleveland’s Jordan Clarkson last postseason.
In his postseason career, Thompson has appeared in 78 games (per Basketball Reference), with all of those resulting in runs to the NBA Finals (from 2014-18). In those games, he’s averaged 7.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 29.8 minutes per contest.
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He’s often positively impacted the game more in those circumstances, as evidenced by his box plus-minus being plus-1.8, per Basketball Reference. For his career in the regular season, on the other hand, his box plus-minus is -0.6. When the pace slows down as it usually does in the postseason and basketball gets much more physical, Thompson’s toughness and interior presence brings a ton of value.
Contending teams would value that I believe, and Thompson would provide stability on the interior as a result, whereas other younger players in key interior roles might have their play negatively affected by the lack of familiarity with how games are played in the postseason.
Last but not least, Thompson could provide valuable depth for contenders, who might be dealing with injuries to key bigs.