Tristan Thompson made his pre-season debut on Thursday in the Cavaliers’ 119-94 loss to Toronto after missing the first three games due to a nagging foot injury. The sixth-year man out of Texas by way of Toronto finished the night with eight points on 2-of-3 from the field, with three rebounds and two assists.
The 25-year old provided his normal brand of high-intensity basketball, but his coach, Tyronn Lue, said pre-game that he hopes to see growth from Thompson on the offensive end.
Lue said he hopes to be able to utilize his center more in the post when switched on to smaller guards, something that should continue to be a theme with the pick-and-roll threats of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.
“Also, he’s been working with his jumpshot, his 15-foot jumpshot,” Lue said. “He’s gotten confidence in that, so we’re going to let him shoot some of those this year and shoot it with confidence.
“Each year, you want to bring back something to your game, when you get better and develop your game. He’s done that, he’s put in the work in this summer, so we’re going to see where he’s at.”
Thompson’s one missed field goal was a hook shot within ten feet. Otherwise, he said he couldn’t find the space to work on the new jumper because of Toronto’s approach.
“Man, I was just trying to find it tonight,” Thompson said. “I was trying to get that pick and pop, but it’s all good. Just flow of the game, if it’s there, take it and shoot it. Why not, right? Get enough reps up, might as well take it.
“Just have to read it,” he added. “With Toronto, they definitely packed in tonight on the rolls, they were tagging. Every team is going to have different defensive schemes, tonight they wanted to pack it in and force us to shoot threes.”
Frye hobbles off
Cavs forward Channing Frye was forced out of the game in the first half after getting tangled up on a breakaway. He instantly limped off the floor and into the locker room.
Luckily, Lue said post-game that the Arizona product’s x-rays came back negative and that he was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain. The 33-year old was not in the cards to play Friday night in Chicago, and that plan will obviously carry on with the injury.
Frye should not miss any time headed into the regular season, which is a good thing because Lue says he expects to try a new approach with the forward.
“We are definitely going to experiment with him because with his length, he can definitely guard fives in the post, so he can play four or five,” he said. “Right now, I’m envisioning something else at the start of the season, a little something we’ve been thinking about doing a little different, so we’ll see. We’ll see how it works.”
If the situation were to arise where Frye would miss extended time, Thompson said the team has options, as well as time to figure things out.
“You know Channing, what he is great at. Pick and pop big at the five,” Thompson said. “It’s definitely a special gift that he has and it is big for our team. With him out, we have Cory (Jefferson) and Jon(athan Holmes) and Bird (Chris Andersen) to try out in the pick and roll and get the ball moving. It’s pre-season and… Coach Lue is experimenting with things. When the season starts, we’ll know what we can throw out there.”