With the 4th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Tristan Thompson out of the University of Texas. While the choice has had mixed reactions, particularly with the knowledge that Lithuanian big man Jonas Valancunias was still on the board as well as instant impact guys like Kawhi Leonard, Thompson quietly put together a good rookie campaign alongside 1st pick Kyrie Irving. Thompson's numbers would constantly improve through the season, especially after Anderson Varejao went down with an injury and he became a starter. Though undersized at the 5, Thompson ended the 2011-12 season with a respectable 8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, in 23.7 minutes, making the All-Rookie Second Team.
But as is the case with most big men taken in the lottery, guys like Tristan take time to develop. His rookie season, measured per 36 minutes, is a wonderful 12.5 points/9.8 rebounds. It's also worth noting he didn't play at his natural position of PF for the latter part of the season, as Antawn Jamison started at the 4.
Thompson's biggest strength is in offensive rebounding. He averaged a very good 3.1 offensive rebounds per game (4.7 per 36), enough for placing second overall in ORB% this past season. While his defensive rebounding isn't that good, with 3.4 defensive boards per game (5.1 per 36), this is an area he can improve on. Another issue of his is free throw shooting - he only made 55% of attempts at the stripe. Still, he has shown signs of an improving game in Summer League, and his actions do back up his words.
With Jamison departing for the flashier pastures of L.A., Tristan Thompson finally gets to start at his natural position, so not only will his numbers improve from this, he will also receive more minutes - a criterion that counts for Most Improved Player voting and allow himself to prove worthy of the 4th pick.