3 Cleveland Cavaliers bench players that could swing the series against Orlando Magic

The Cleveland Cavaliers' first round series against Orlando will begin Saturday afternoon at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. These productive role players could prove to be key to winning in the playoffs.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
3 of 4

2. Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson will be a “Break in case of emergency” player for the Cavaliers in their first round, but he might be the perfect solution for Orlando's tough interior presence. Cavalier fans are hoping Mobley and Allen will  prove they are up to the task and can keep the Orlando frontcourt from changing the series with offensive rebounds and tough interior play. Still, if they get pushed around again, the Cavaliers will likely look to their 33-year-old veteran Thompson to get in there and save the Cavs.

The Cavaliers signed Tristan Thompson last summer in a move that clearly addressed the rebounding issues they faced against the Knicks. Cleveland gave up the most offensive rebounds per game last postseason of any competing team. It is unclear how much Tristan is going to play in this series against Orlando, but the backup option will be there. He is much more limited offensively than other big men like Mobley, Allen and Niang, but there is one thing he can consistently do at a high level -rebound.

His minutes will likely depend on how the games look and if the Cavs need to bring in a big body. Thompson surprised everybody with his performance this regular season, battling physically down low and fighting over bigger, younger players. It looked as though his playing days might be over, but he looked strong and athletic in the paint with his former team. The Cavs have yet to deploy Thompson since his 25-game suspension. He may not be as playoff-ready as it seemed earlier this season, but Cleveland can still utilize his broad frame and innate strength.

Nonetheless, if Thompson’s number is called against Orlando, he could save the Cavaliers’ season with his physical and tough rebounding.