Earlier in the preseason, it was reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to start Tristan Thompson in the lineup while Anderson Varejao comes off the bench. After a few preseason games, things have changed, and the Brazilian center will once again be part of the starting five, probably due to his familiarity with LeBron James.
David Blatt has plenty of experience as a head coach, but only in European basketball. In the NBA or North America for that matter, it is his first season. He’s gotten quite a job to take care of, overseeing LeBron James returning to Cleveland, joining forces with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Just like Erik Spoelstra felt before he won championships, there will be a lot of pressure on Blatt to make the most of a privileged situation.
The initial thought process was wrapped around the notion that Varejao, who has been injured quite a lot of over the last four seasons, should be kept well rested and not overworked, which means preferably coming off the bench instead of being the starting center who gets the bulk of the minutes. But after a few games and trying a few things out, Blatt has decided that for now, Varejao will be the one starting while Thompson, who can play more than just one position, will be coming off the bench.
That was more or less the idea of beginning with Andy just because those two guys are so good together. And Tristan is equally as efficient in either case. So, that’s more or less the basis, but it doesn’t mean that Tristan won’t be starting some of the games. I’m sure he will be. Just right now, that’s the way we’re looking to go.
Thompson will get plenty of minutes this season, not to worry. We’ll see him next to LeBron James and next to Kevin Love and a number of combination the Cavaliers will try out. There’s also Brendan Haywood who’ll get some minutes off the bench, although he’ll probably will be traded at some point with the Cavaliers trying to use his appealing non-guaranteed portion of the two remaining seasons as a way to entice a trade.
James and Varejao have been teammates for six seasons: From 2004 until 2010, making it to the NBA finals together in 2007. Tristan Thompson joined the Cavaliers in 2011, the 4th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He has averaged 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in three seasons with the Cavs, starting in all 164 games over the last two seasons.