Tristan Thompson being a non-factor doesn’t help
One of the main issues the Cavs are facing is essentially an experience gap. The Cavs have a lot of older players and also some younger players.
In addition, these players have little to no real playoff experience. To make things worse, only James, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, and Tristan Thompson have experience playing together in the playoffs on this team.
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In an attempt to keep things brief on this frustrating topic, Thompson has been a non-factor in this series. This comes as no surprise but what’s notable about this is it’s because he sitting on the bench. Usually Thompson is just being a non-factor while he’s on the floor.
It’s hard to say whether Tyronn Lue‘s (or LeBron’s) tactic of keeping Thompson on the bench has been beneficial to the team’s play or not though. The Cavs haven’t looked much better without him and have struggled mightily in the playoffs thus far.
Thompson has played a grand total of nine minutes in this series. This development was an interesting approach especially considering he’d been involved in the regular season.
The Cavs have been more apt to playing Love and Larry Nance Jr. at center even during the regular season. Looking into the future, this is definitely a good change considering it will make the Cavs a much better match up for teams like the Golden State Warriors who are faster.
A large part of the problem with having Thompson is he doesn’t match up well with a majority of the teams out there now due to his inability to be flexible as a center such as playing away from the rim. Thompson isn’t good at playing close to the rim either though so it’s kind of a lose-lose situation regardless.
One thing the Cavs would have benefited from with Thompson in this series would be just having him stand under the rim with his hands up. His large size would at least have slowed down some of the Pacers’ flurry of wide open lanes in the paint to the rim.
The Cavs suffered greatly from the Pacers abusing them on the inside. Having Thompson playing like he should play would certainly have that diminished.