Tristan Thompson shows promise as Team Canada goes winless in Marchand cup

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Canada wrapped up it's disappointing 5 day stretch with it's fourth straight loss. How did Tristan Thompson look?

The lesson I'm going to preach is a simple one. Tristan Thompson should not be your primary offensive player.

The lack of depth on Team Canada, especially at the guard positions proved costly. They were overwhelmed by far more experienced and talented international lineups. One look at the names that were being sent to the tournament by Canada would paint a picture of what they had in store ahead of them. Looking at the list of names that did not attend paints an even sadder picture with Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Kim English, and Tyler Ennis staying home for various reasons.

But obviously as a Cavaliers fan, the most important thing was the development of Tristan Thompson. He finished the tournament with the following averages after 4 games:

Minutes:

23.5

PPG

13

FG%

46.8%

RPG

7.5

APG

0.5

FT %

72.7

He also  chipped in 3 blocks and 3 steals in the four games.

The final game was an obvious low point for Tristan in the tournament. He picked up his third foul of the game in the third quarter, and was basically benched from that point on. He finished with 5 points, no rebounds on 2 of 6 shooting in 15 minutes of play.

While the hand change appears to have made a big difference with his free throw shooting, it is evident to most that watch that it will take some time before he is comfortable shooting a midrange jumper. When he is given time it actually looks not bad, however in the flow of the game he has a tendency to rush the jumper and the form suffers as a result. If you are wondering why Thompson is rushing and forcing shots, when he is normally skilled in taking only what is available to him and not disrupting the offense; it can likely be attributed to one of the following factors:

  • He is forcing shots in an effort to show off his hand change. This is certainly possible as he is trying to get in as many reps as possible with his right hand, so that he will feel comfortable by the time he's playing in the NBA again.
  • He is being asked to do too much. The fact that this incarnation of Team Canada is pretty terrible has led to a dependence on Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson to shoulder the bulk of the scoring. This is not their ideal roles and as a result, may have lead to some of the poor decisions Tristan took in his shot taking.
Ideally I'm sure we are all hoping that once Thompson returns to the Cavaliers he will go back to taking what is available. I think we are going to see a significant rise in his True Shooting Percentage this season especially if he manages to keep his free throw shooting above 70%. I also believe that given the amount of attention that will be given to the Cavs more potent weapons, Tristan will be able to get a lot more high percentage looks and convert them. It should be stated that he is going up quicker upon receiving the ball. There is less of a gather and he is keeping the ball high. If he can finally kick this bad habit of taking the ball low hopefully he won't continue to be blocked at an alarming rate.

While the changes Tristan has made are exciting it is important to take a step back and put things in perspective. The competition he faced is of a lesser quality and the volume of looks he gets in international competition are not going be the same as when he is in the NBA. But Tristan managed to be a positive almost every time he was on the court last season, and he managed to do that as a below average offensive player. If he can improve his consistency at the free throw line and throw in a couple reliable moves on offense it will dramatically improve his value as a player. What I think we are going to see is the same kind of numbers as he produced last year only in fewer minutes and more efficiently. I don't think he's going to be an all star, but at the same time to constantly see noticeable improvement in a player is pretty rare. All I know is what Chris Grant envisioned when he drafted Thompson is becoming more clear.

Just to emphasize my opening point one last time. Here is the very astute Mr. Zavac:


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