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Movin' On Up

Tristan Thompson Continues His Ascent Through the All-Time Record Books
by Joe Gabriele
Cavs.com Beat Writer

Movin' On Up

Tristan Thompson Continues His Ascent Through the
All-Time Record Books

Many of us still remember the day Tristan Thompson (and Kyrie Irving) first arrived in Cleveland after being taken with two of the top four picks in the 2011 Draft.

The Cavaliers were coming off a 19-win season, but won the NBA Lottery that spring, drafting a pair of players that would eventually be key pieces to their 2016 NBA Championship run.

Looking back at the scouting report on Thompson after a single season at Texas, the experts had the Toronto native pegged pretty well.

Some of the advanced intel was spot-on: ”Good but not elite athlete by NBA standards, but extremely active around the rim,” “High-motor, blue-collar player who doesn’t take plays off,” “Doesn’t need plays called for him to be effective,” “Potential to be a strong rebounder, especially at the offensive end.”

Over 600 games later, Thompson has established himself as a fixture within the franchise – on par with names like Austin Carr, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Brad Daugherty and even his close friend, LeBron James.

And as he ascends through the franchise’s all-time record books, instead of slowing down, T-Top is still improving. In his ninth NBA season, Thompson is putting up some of the best numbers of his career. Two weeks ago, he went off for a career-high 35 points in a dramatic win over Detroit. And just this week, Tristan grabbed a career-best 22 boards in a home matchup with the Knicks.

As he continues to climb the charts, Cavs.com assembled some sundry statistics to chart Thompson’s status as one of the Wine & Gold’s all-time greats … with some running commentary from the man himself …


Tristan Thompson has saved some of his biggest numbers for the Cavaliers biggest postseason moments. Photo: David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images


420 … games started

184 … games off the bench

*Tristan Thompson: I didn’t start during my rookie season and then, I think the next time I came off the bench was the year that we got Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder.

That was pretty stupid.

6 … head coaches

17 … assistant coaches

*Thompson: Jamal Mosley was with me through my first three years, so he was really big in my development. So, I have a real close relationship with him. Obviously, Nate Tibbets and Kyrie did so well together and Kyrie gave him a shout-out after winning Rookie of the Year and that helped Nate go to Portland.

Brett Brielmayer was the video guy with Pop and came here and now he's with Sean Marks and the Nets, and he's doing really well for himself. He's another head coach in-the-making; he’ll get there some day. I think he's next in line.

I think Coach Mosely should get a chance. He's close. Nate is close. T. Lue will probably get a head coaching job again next year.

109 … different Cavalier teammates

*Thompson: No. Seriously? I’m gonna need to see that list.

280-315 … regular season record

*Thompson: Damn! A losing record! Well, we've had some rebuilding years.

53-25 … postseason record

*Thompson: See? That's the playoffs. That's the important stuff. That's when I win ballgames.

3 … total assists handed out through the first 21 games of his NBA career

*Thompson: My job wasn't to get assists! My job back then was to rebound and dunk the ball!

35, 22 … career highs in points and rebounds respectively – both set within an 11-day period this month

*Thompson: I hope I’m getting better. You try to keep getting better every summer. I wanted to work on new things and improve my game this year. You know, being able to make plays off the dribble and finish around the rim. So, I just keep working.

.518 … career field goal percentage - 6th all-time – just below Tyrone Hill (.520) and just above Mel Turpin (.516)

"Coming into the league, you always want to be able to leave your imprint wherever you play. So, for me, being able to be part of Cavaliers history and probably go down as one of the greatest Cavaliers to ever play. Yeah, it's huge."

Tristan Thompson, on his all-time standing with the Wine & Gold

1,840 … free throws attempted, 18 behind Phil Hubbard for 8th place all-time

447 … consecutive games played, breaking the previous team mark of 361 – held by Jim Chones

*Thompson: I like the all-time stuff like this. The numbers like field goal percentage and stuff like that, it's cool. But by just being out there, playing that many games to get those numbers, it just shows your durability. Those numbers, that's all a testament to durability.

Personally, I'd love to keep that one; hopefully take that one to the grave with me. The Young Bull is getting there, but he’s not that close, he's got a lot of years to go. I know he did all 82 last year. So, I might need him to take a day off. Every couple years, we need to give that kid a day off.

16,986 … minutes played, needing 1,141 to catch Mark Price for No. 7 all-time

39 … percentage of total career rebounds that have come off the offensive glass

378 … three-pointers needed to catch Craig Ehlo and get into the Cavs all-time top 10

*Thompson: Yeah, that one might take a while.

199 … total rebounds grabbed against Golden State in the NBA Finals

666 … total rebounds grabbed during the playoffs overall

440 … shots blocked – 10 shy of Jim Chones’ mark for 5th all-time

*Thompson: That one is pretty cool. I'm not really a shot-blocker. I'm a shot-blocker when the game is on the line. You can count on me to block shots when the game is on the line.

.463 … career field goal percentage left-handed

.537 … career field goal percentage right-handed

.580 … career free throw percentage left-handed

.619 … career free throw percentage right-handed

*Thompson: I owe that one to Jeremy Pargo.

It was at a shootaround in Phoenix. We were messing around, shooting corner threes and he said: 'Try with your right hand.' The rest is history.

32 … games needed to pass Austin Carr to move into 6th place (635) for all-time games played as a Cavalier – with Hot Rod next at 661

*Thompson: That one’s big. It's a huge honor.

Coming into the league, you always want to be able to leave your imprint wherever you play. So, for me, being able to be part of Cavaliers history and probably go down as one of the great Cavaliers to ever play. Yeah, it's huge. My goal is to get my jersey retired someday. That would be a really big honor.

You become immortalized. You're here forever -- when you come back, when your kids come back. It's something to tell your kids to be proud of.

Getting traded or signing somewhere else is just part of the business of basketball and sometimes it’s out of your control. But for me to be able to be with the team for, you know, this is my ninth season, being here for that long, it's really meaningful.

Not a lot of guys around the league can't say that.

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