Tristan Thompson is not a perfect player. When he was drafted he was as raw as a player could be causing many to question whether or not the Cavaliers blew a top 4 pick in selecting him. While the jury is still out on what he will become in his NBA career the development we have seen up to this point has at the very least shown us he is trending in the right direction.
On Thursday night, Canada played Jamaica in the Jack Donohue Classic which ended with Canada walking away with a 81-72 victory. Canada looked like a team that had only spent 6 days together getting ready for the game (which was all they had). At the end of the day it was just an ugly exhibition game between two teams that didn't have their complete rosters on the floor. It did however give the first glimpse of Tristan Thompson and how he has progressed in this off-season.
It also gave me a chance to see Tristan face off against a former Cavs great.
Here are some of the observations I had while watching the game:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Tristan Thompson looks big. He might be wearing Kevlar under his warm ups</p>— Justin (@jrsuperstar11) <a href="https://twitter.com/jrsuperstar11/statuses/365611073795137536">August 8, 2013</a></blockquote>
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- Tristan looks BIG. His chest and lower body look considerably bigger than last time we saw him take the court. His shoulders looked far more defined. He also looked taller than the Orlando Magic's Andrew Nicholson (listed at 6'9).
- The rumors are all true. Tristan Thompson is now right handed. When he put the ball on the floor it was with it was with his right hand. His "Mountie" floater shot was with his right hand. Free throws were with his right hand. Unfortunately he still dunks with two hands.
- Tristan's new-found size has not affected his quickness or his rebounding. He was very active on the boards and created several second chance opportunities with tap outs and hustling for loose balls.
- I saw a big time improvement tonight in Tristan's pick setting tonight. When he set screens for the point guard he was set better in a wider stance. He also stuck with the screen and rolled once the guard had actually used the screen. If he can continue to do this it will reduce the amount of instances where the point guard gets jammed up in the screen and is forced to back out or give up the ball. Unfortunately the ball didn't find it's way to Tristan when he rolled to the bucket.
- His free throw shooting looked way more fluid than it did in his first two seasons with the Cavs. He went 0/2 in the game after taking a hard foul attempting a dunk on Samardo Samuels. But when he attempted his shots (one short, one long) his stroke was one fluid motion. There was no hitch and there was good arch on the shot. While the results were not there I finally saw for the first time a repeatable motion out of Tristan at the line. He never will become a consistent free throw shooter unless he developed a repeatable stroke so this is a major step in the right direction.
- Tristan had trouble finishing from the floor as well. He went 2/9 during the game although one attempt looked more like a bobbled catch that was knocked away by a Jamacian defender.