Tristan Thompson says he’s embracing his new bench role in Cleveland, and gunning for the Sixth Man of the Year award this season.
New story: Tristan Thompson’s “little goal” for the season? Sixth Man of the Year https://t.co/rp5MSLxyQo
– Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 3, 2017
Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue “hated having that conversation” with the big fella.
Thomposon, 26, became a starting center during Cleveland’s championship run during the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
Lue has now named [LeBron] James, [Kevin] Love, [Jae] Crowder and Derrick Rose as his opening night starters, only holding out on whether J.R. Smith will continue to start at shooting guard or if Dwyane Wade will take his spot. Wade started in James’ place Monday but also spent significant time playing point guard with the second unit.
“Tristan has been a big part of what we do. I hated having that conversation, but it was great,” Lue said. “He was phenomenal. That’s what it’s all about. You hate having those conversations, but he was great. He was like, ‘Man, whatever you need me to do, Coach. I’ll just go for Sixth Man of the Year. I understand what’s going on.’ … When you have those talks, usually they don’t go that good. But he was great about it.”
Lue said he told Thompson, who started all 78 games he played last season, about his planned lineup shift late last week.“I’m going to go for Sixth Man of the Year, put myself in position to do that,” Thompson said after the scrimmage. “Just play hard, though. I’m not going to look too much into it, but if you’re going to come off the bench, might as well have a little goal – and I feel like with the second unit we have and the energy that I bring off the bench, I’ll put myself in pretty good position. Especially when you win.”