As a Cavs fan, you won’t get many tweets from Woj about your team. So, when any current Cavalier shows up in one of his updates, you brace yourself for what you’re going to read. Sadly, we got some news on Saturday that a long-tenured Cav was on his way out.
Tristan Thompson inked a 2-year, $19 million deal with the Celtics. This ends his run in Cleveland, which lasted 3,340 days (per a tweet from @BraydenBallin). For 3,339 nights, we went to sleep knowing that TT was a Cav.
It was a great run for him in The Land. He helped the team win a title. He was a great teammate. And he was a fan favorite. And now, he’s gone. It’s only right that he gets a proper sendoff in the form an article that expresses how grateful we are for his time here.
Why We’ll Miss Him
Very few players can grab offensive rebounds like Tristan Thompson can. When you think of players that dominated the offensive glass, you think of Dennis Rodman. You think of Reggie Evans. And obviously, Tristan as well. Over his 619 games played in CLE, he averaged 3.4 offensive rebounds per game.
No matter how bad the Cavs would shoot the ball on some nights, they’d still come up with wins. And Tristan’s ability to keep possessions alive with his never-give-up mentality was a huge reason why. In five of his nine years in Cleveland, TT grabbed 10+ offensive rebounds in at least one game.
His game was never flashy, as it never had to be. Tristan grinded for rebounds down low, and made sure to set his teammates up when he could. He improved his offensive game every year as well. He began as a guy that could only really score on open lay-ups and dunks. He then added a low-post game that enabled him to hit jump-hooks on both the right and left side of the rim.
This was a huge reason for his scoring improvement over these past two seasons. He averaged a career-best 12 points per game during the 2019-20 campaign. They’ll certainly miss his ability to make opposing centers look silly.
What the Celtics Are Getting
In Tristan Thompson, the Celtics are getting a type of player they haven’t had in a long time. A center that is dominant on the glass, and can finish around the rim. Al Horford was not an effective scorer during his time in Boston, and we know that Daniel Theis isn’t able to do much besides dunk and make a rare three.
TT is going to provide them with a center that can be a mobile defender. Whereas Theis got burned at the top of the key, Tristan can actually play solid defense there. The Celtics could have honestly beaten the Heat if they had a center that could fight through screens and not let switches destroy everything.
He’ll be an exciting player, and somebody that should make an immediate impact. It will be very easy to root for TT next year, even if he’s wearing Celtic green. He’ll fit right in there.
RETIRE HIS JERSEY!
There is no question that Tristan Thompson’s #13 jersey should hang in the rafters at the end of his career. He played in over 600 games, and is ranked inside the top-10 in several all-time categories. He was a part of the franchise’s first championship. He’s a winner.
Aside from Nate Thurmond, who had two pretty sub-par years with the Cavs at the end of his career, there has never been an “undeserving” Cav to get their jersey retired. TT’s time in Cleveland is filled with nothing but positive memories.
His ability on the glass and to be able to defend effectively against the Golden State lineups which featured Draymond at the center spot were invaluable. They probably don’t make the 3-1 comeback without him.
All-Time Stats for Tristan Thompson
Blocks: 447 (6th in franchise history)
Rebounds: 5,393 (3rd)
Off. Rebounds: 2,115 (2nd)
1,871 free-throw attempts (8th)
619 games played (7th)
447 Consecutive Games Played (Longest streak in franchise history)
Thank You, Tristan
Nothing but well wishes for this man as he heads to Boston. Thank you for everything, Tristan Thompson. Go win another championship.