clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tristan Thompson Injury Raises Questions About Cleveland Cavaliers' Big Man Rotation

Whether Tristan Thompson's ankle keeps him out extended time or not, it's clear the Cavs are hobbled in the post.

Tristan Thompson's ankle injury might be innocuous. Then again, it might not, and the Cavs' fourth overall pick could miss some time.

Regardless, it shines some light on just how thin Cleveland's front line really is. Antawn Jamison plays power forward by definition, but isn't a banger. That leaves Thompson and Anderson Varejao as the primary rebounders. From there, it's an Island of Misfit Toys led by Semih Erden, Samardo Samuels, Ryan Hollins and Luke Harangody.

Raise your hand if you have any faith in those four to play significant minutes for the Cavaliers.



It's well-documented that the Cavs are in dire need of swingmen. The Cavaliers traded J.J. Hickson to open up room for Tristan Thompson, bringing in Omri Casspi in hopes that his bulldog drives and ability to stretch the defense would help the team. Although he's played better lately, he hasn't played at a high level on a regular basis.

Christian Eyenga has been brought up to shore up depth, Anthony Parker's age is definitely showing, Daniel Gibson has done his best, but is still a shooting guard in a point guard's body. Alonzo Gee has been a pleasant surprise.

The glaring lack of shooters has -- in a sense -- covered up just how ugly the Cavs are in the post.

Maybe Erdeh will finally put it all together. He has offensive skill and an NBA body. But, his 5.43 PER doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.

Samuels, despite promising efforts against Detroit and Indiana in December, has only played in four of the last ten games. If you remove his 8-12 in the contests against the Pistons and Pacers, Samardo is shooting 23.5 percent on the year.

Ryan Hollins has about as good of a chance of cracking the rotation at this point as I do.

And Harangody...well, how do I even start talking about #GodyTime? He's a comedy of errors, and even though it was a grand old time with him playing minutes last year, if he's on the court, there are major problems.

Come trade deadline, it's very likely Jamison will no longer be with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With every double-double Varejao posts, his value grows. No matter how many times Byron Scott says Andy won't be traded, if a GM makes Chris Grant an offer he can't say no to, the Brazilian could be bringing his floppy-headed high energy game to a playoff contender.

Cavs fans, and the organization at large, deserve to see Thompson healthy and playing starter's minutes. The club needs to see what it has in Tigger as it looks toward the future. But, without a true center on the roster, and the prospects of Varejao's minutes going to Erdeh, Samuels, Hollins and Gody, it's clear that the Cavs need help. Badly.

Hopefully one of those deals would bring a young big man who just needs an audition on a team with plenty of minutes to spare. Or at the very least picks that could be spent on post players.

For now, the fan base will have to hope that Thompson's ankle is okay, and enjoy Andy while he is still here, without getting discouraged at the losses piling up.

It is absolutely imperative that Cleveland lands in the lottery again this year to improve its long-term goals as a team. If there's any time to see if any of the Toys are still worthy of being played with, it's now.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.