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ESPN lists Tristan Thompson as possible breakout candidate

Will Tristan Thompson take a big step forward next season?

Dave Mangels/Getty Images

It's that time of year where projections help get us ready for another NBA season. Every team goes into the season with their own individual goals, players they hope will step up, and try to figure out where their team will land within the NBA spectrum.

The Cavs will once again be a contender heading into the 2016-17 season. With seasoned veteran Mike Dunleavy Jr. and rookie Kay Felder as the two additions of note, any meaningful improvement from last season will need to come internally.

That means the growth of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and, to a lesser extent, Kevin Love will be crucial to Cavs improving off their title year.

ESPN conducted a poll with their forecast panel to determine what players are most likely to become an All Star for the first time last season. The usual suspects made up the top of the list with Karl Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeAndre Jordan making up the top three. But TThompson managed to earn an honorable mention, as he received two votes from the panel.

Thompson has been the ideal role player for the Cavs and an essential piece to their championship puzzle. That being said, I can't really see him ever getting All-Star recognition. An argument can be made that he is the Cavs third most important player, but with Love not getting recognition the last two seasons and Irving missing out last year, it seems unlikely Thompson will get the required amount of shine to have an appearance.

That being said, it's still nice that he is thought of in high enough regard to earn a mention in discussions like this. But Thompson is about doing a few things at a really high level and playing within his game. Those type of players don't typically make All Star teams.