Tristan Thompson takes a free throw

Pregame Post-Ups: Celtics "Need" Thompson Back

Wednesday, April 7 - Knicks at Celtics

Pregame – Celtics "Need" Thompson Back in the Lineup

Tristan Thompson will finally return to Boston’s lineup tonight for the first time since March 14. He has been sidelined for the duration of that period due to Health and Safety Protocols.

His return to the lineup is a big addition – both figuratively and literally – to the Celtics’ rotation.

Boston’s trade of Daniel Theis at the trade deadline left the 6-foot-9 Thompson as the only experienced veteran player along the team’s frontline. During his absence over the last three weeks, Rob Williams, who had never logged more than 388 minutes in a single season prior to this campaign, was placed into the starting lineup and his only backups at center were 23-year-old Moe Wagner, Luke Kornet and two-way center Tacko Fall.

Thompson’s return gives the Celtics an experienced 10-year vet who has won a championship. He is a versatile defender, an elite rebounder, and he can think the game at a high level.

“We need Tristan back,” Brad Stevens said before Wednesday’s matchup with the New York Knicks. “Obviously, with the Theis trade, that is enormous to have him back.”

Stevens added that “there’s no doubt that our center rotation will start with Rob and Tristan.” Those two players will almost certainly log the most minutes at center on a consistent basis. However, Stevens isn’t closing the door on Wagner and Kornet just because Thompson has returned.

“He’ll play a lot when Rob is not,” Stevens said of Thompson, “but I thought Luke came in and showed us that he can do some things, and Moe has done some things, and I thought Tacko did alright last night too.”

Stevens said the Celtics are “gonna need everybody” within that group as the team moves forward, and that’s because all of them bring different strengths to the table. That being said, Thompson’s strengths cannot be overstated.

As was mentioned, he’s seen everything in this league and has won at the highest of levels. He also ranks eighth in the league in rebound percentage among players who have played at least 30 games (two spots behind Williams).

He was an important piece of this team before Theis was traded, and now that Theis is gone, the Celtics needed Thompson back. Tonight, they’ll finally have him.

- Marc D'Amico

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