Can Tristan Thompson provide much needed rim protection for the Kings?
The Sacramento Kings added to their crowded front court when they acquired Tristan Thompson before free agency this year in a three-team trade with the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics, with the Kings sending Delon Wright to Atlanta. .
Talent wise, the trade was a bit of a headache for Sacramento as the Kings sent the most talented player in the deal to Wright. The deal, reached days after Davion Mitchell was selected by the Kings, was likely a move to break the deadlock in Sacramento’s backcourt, but it also ended up further crowding the front court.
Thompson never really seemed to get comfortable on the court last season with the Celtics, as the majority of his numbers have come down from his years at Cleveland. Is Thompson’s career on a downward trajectory or has the last year been a blow for a guy who has really solid campaigns?
Let’s take a look at the best and worst case scenarios for Tristan Thompson this season.
Best case: Thompson intervenes and seizes the post of backup center of Alex Len and Damian Jones.
Thompson is likely entering the season as the roster’s top rebounder, with back-to-back 10+ rebounding seasons with the Cavaliers. He also still has some value as a guy who can protect the rim.
At 30, Thompson had declined athletically enough that he wasn’t the guy who stayed with Steph Curry on the switches during the Finals, but he’s still a big body that can put off guys on the edge.
If Thompson can be a spark plug guy who gets a few offensive rebounds every time he’s out there besides protecting the rim, he could end up being useful to the Kings this season.
Worst case: Thompson ends up being buried on the Kings bench as other great men step up, and his off-field behavior becomes a scenario at least once during the season.
In recent years, Thompson has at times been more relevant off the pitch than he has been on the pitch, due to his previous relationship with reality TV star Khloe Kardashian.
The Kings can’t really afford to have a non-essential player causing drama off the field, so you’d think they’ll have a short leash when it comes to Thompson.
On the court, Thompson has gone down a bit in recent seasons and if that downhill continues the Kings have a ton of other great men on the roster who should be able to replace Thompson.
The most likely scenario is that Thompson ends up splitting his time with Alex Len as the Kings’ backup center playing between 10 and 15 minutes a night. I think Thompson’s time as a legitimate starting center is behind him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns into a useful piece for the Kings this season.