Cavaliers: Grading Tristan Thompson’s 2019-20 play thus far

Cleveland Cavaliers big Tristan Thompson handles the ball against Dallas Mavericks big Boban Marjanovic. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Tristan Thompson handles the ball against Dallas Mavericks big Boban Marjanovic. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson high-fives Cleveland wing Cedi Osman. (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Taking a look at Thompson’s offensive play

Thompson has been much more of a scoring threat this season on a game-to-game basis, and especially pre-trade deadline, before the Cavs acquired Andre Drummond via trade with the Detroit Pistons.

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Heading into the NBA season’s novel coronavirus-induced suspension, Thompson had been averaging a career-best 12.0 points and 2.1 assists per game, per Basketball Reference.

Thompson has proven to be much more of a post presence as a scorer this season, and his hook shots with both ends have gotten much better. That’s given Cleveland a quality outlet to go to throughout games, and it’s opened up some big-to-big passes at times between Thompson and Kevin Love as a counter, too.

Plus, Thompson’s still been a tremendous screening presence on and off the ball, as evidenced by TT being ninth in the league in total screen assists, according to’s hustle statistics.

That’s while still seeing his minutes cut into largely post-trade deadline when Drummond’s been active, and with Thompson missing eight games to this point, due to a left knee contusion and more recently, a right eye abrasion.

Along with the scoring/screening presence, TT has continually done what he’s done for nearly nine years for Cleveland, in terms of hitting the offensive glass.

Thompson has tied a career-high with having 4.0 offensive boards per contest thus far in 2019-20, and on the year, he trails only Drummond (the league leader) and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Hassan Whiteside in total offensive rebounds, as noted by Basketball Reference.

On the season, while TT is still not really a shooting presence at all and he does turn it over a bit, he’s objectively been very good in terms of what I’d have expected. You still would like to see him at least be able to hit shots occasionally in the short roll/mid-range to take advantage of slower defenders often guarding, though, and I’m not buying into the occasional three here or there, as he’s only hit nine on the year.

Thompson’s offensive grade thus far in 2019-20: B+

I understand Thompson has been in a contract season, but the better footwork he’s shown in the post, him showing more touch on hooks, showing some better big-to-big passing feel and with him still being an outstanding screener/offensive rebounder, I’d say a B+ is reasonable.

Next up, we’ll hit on Thompson’s defensive play thus far this season.