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Brad Stevens on Tristan Thompson: His ability helps make Cavs late game defense very good

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Why is Tristan Thompson finishing games? Let's ask Brad

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Tristan Thompson had himself a game on Thursday night. Two of Thompson's fourth quarter offensive rebounds led to three pointers for the Cavs, and the team needed an offensive boost late. But Kevin O'Connor of SB Nation's own Celtics Blog asked Celtics coach Brad Stevens about Thompson's defense.

It's been a running conversation since January, why is Tristan Thompson finishing games? There are some matchups where you would think Timofey Mozgov would be necessary. And how valuable can you be as a defender if you aren't great at defending the rim? Well, in a pick and roll league, maybe pretty valuable.

Stevens' thoughts:

"His ability on pick and rolls is generally good. And you always talk about ... you are so much more versatile and valuable the more positions you can guard. And so obviously blitzing is something a lot of bigs do but that doesn't mean you can switch and guard a guard. But his ability to switch, it makes their late game defense very good because he and LeBron [James] can move their feet with anybody and have great size."

It's just one game, of course. Thompson is still coming along. But if LeBron James is on the primary ballhandler late in games, and he often will be, and Thompson can switch off in the pick and roll, well, that could be dynamic. And effective.