Who Is the X-Factor for the Cavaliers?
*Photo via AP
There’s no doubt who the key players are on this Cavs roster; LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and J.R Smith. However, since Kevin Love went down with a shoulder injury; there’s been one player who has not just stepped up but become the X-Factor for this Cavs team.
Tristan Thompson, undersized at the power forward position has been playing like he’s five inches taller. Thompson has been playing with explosive energy and has been a tenacious rebounder since Love went down. Early this postseason when Thompson came off the bench, he averaged just 6.6 points per game, with seven rebounds. After being placed in the starting line-up, he took full advantage. In nine games this postseason as a starter, Thompson is averaging 11 points per game, with 11.4 rebounds in which 4.2 are offensive rebounds. Offensive rebounding is a dirty job and a huge momentum shifter, Thompson has flourished with that part of the game.
With the key members of this Cavs team doing the bulk of the scoring, a player like Thompson who does the dirty work and gives the guys second-chance opportunities. It is a clear energy booster to the guys around him. If the Cavs are firing on all cylinders and Thompson keeps up this type of tenacious play, the 51 year drought could finally see it’s end.