3 Cavaliers players who need monster second halves to save their job

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers
Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers / Ron Schwane/GettyImages
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Tristan Thompson needs another redemption arc with the Cavaliers

The Cavaliers will never forget the historic 2016 Finals run, and they have consistently kept at least one player from that squad on the roster since that summer. Until last season, Kevin Love was the 2016 ambassador. With Love in Miami following a buyout, Tristan Thompson joined the crew as the representative. While the 32-year-old big man began the season garnering endless love from the crowd for his toughness and rebounding, the allure of the former champ fell apart when the NBA announced a 25-game suspension for Thompson for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Thankfully for Cleveland, Mobley's return came shortly after Thompson's suspension, meaning the Cavs were not without a full center rotation for long. For Thompson, though, his redemption story and return to prominence in the NBA might be entirely shattered if he cannot come back still performing at a high level without the use of banned substances.

Before the suspension, Thompson was averaging 3.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 12.4 minutes of action per night. He seemed to fit into the low-usage, high-energy role perfectly and helped shape Cleveland's identity this year. Allen and Mobley seemed to take after Thompson's tenacious effort as both young bigs are averaging career-high offensive rebounding (3.4 and 2.4, respectively) since practicing with Double T.

Cleveland's champion big gave the new era exactly what they needed early on. He was a veteran frontcourt leader with championship experience and a fun attitude. Thompson will return to availability shortly before the season ends but will be back for the postseason. If Double T wants to continue extending his NBA career with Cleveland or anyone else, he needs to make a instant impact for the Cavs in the final few games and any playoff minutes he gets.

Otherwise, this could be the final season and unfortunate final chapter of Tristan Thompson's playing career. If there is any silver lining in that conclusion, his lessons in effort and rebounding will not be unappreciated as Mobley and Allen develop more and more.