Originally posted on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 4/19/12

When the Cavaliers landed the #1 and #4 picks in the draft, it was imperative they land two impact players with those picks. We know Kyrie Irving has lived up to the top pick and then some, but there’s a fair debate as to whether or not Tristan Thompson was the right pick at #4.

ESPN’s David Thorpe, one of the sharpest talent evaluators in the media, think the Cavaliers might have nailed this draft. In his rankings of the rookies with the most upside, he obviously lists Kyrie #1 on the list, but surprising to some might be Tristan ranking #2 on his list.

2. Tristan Thompson

Take a look at the top 10 rookie rebounders (based on rebound rate). You’ll see guys who played four years of college, guys who have been pros overseas for years, and guys with huge, wide bodies that make it easy to soak up boards. And then there’s Thompson, who played one year in college and is still much weaker than most of his opponents. But that has not mattered.

Thompson really has very little clue how to play yet, especially around the rim, but he has been a very effective player on many nights. Given a few more years to figure things out, and considering he’ll be a long and elite athlete for a decade or so, it’s easy to imagine just how good he can be. He has All-Star potential.

Obviously there are a lot of ifs in there, but it’s exciting for Cavalier fans to know that Thorpe thinks so highly of Thompson’s potential. If Thompson even comes close to reaching that peak as a potential All-Star, the Cavaliers will be in good shape in a few years.

[Related: ESPN NBA Redraft: Irving and Thompson go in Top Two]

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