Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/8/13
For most rebuilding teams a No. 4 overall pick is a scarce commodity a player whose strengths and weaknesses you take into consideration when building the rest of your roster in order to put him in the best position to succeed. But when you have four top-four picks in three seasons like the Cleveland Cavaliers they become a little more expendable. Kyrie Irving is the franchise player; everyone else no matter how high a selection has to fit around him. Tristan Thompson the No. 4 pick in 2011 was never expected to carry the franchise. He was drafted to be Kyrie's defensive-minded sidekick someone who could anchor the defense and be a finisher on the pick-and-roll. Still only 22 as he heads into his third season he's established himself as a legitimate NBA player with a promising future. However with so many talented young players in Cleveland his place in the Cavaliers' long-term plans is unsettled. An athletic 6'9 230-pound power forward with a 7'1 wingspan Thompson came into the league with an NBA-ready body as well as a willingness to bang in the paint. Although he isn't the most skilled player with the ball in his hands he can be a difference-maker on the glass and defensively. After struggling through a difficult rookie campaign without much talent around him he began to blossom last year averaging 12 points nine rebounds and one block per game on 49 percent shooting. Interestingly enough Thompson played his best basketball in the second half of the season when Anderson Varejao was sidelined. Thompson like Varejao is a much more efficient player when he can play closer to the rim. Last season he shot 36 percent from outside of 10 feet. Defenses don't have to respect him on the perimeter which makes him much less valuable when paired with another non-shooting big man. He had a 16.6 PER as a power forward and a 20.6 as a center.
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