Cavs’ Tristan Thompson Striving to Push Evan Mobley ‘Past Comfort Level’

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Tristan Thompson greeted reporters after practice with a large smile and blood on the back of his hand.Tristan Thompson

“When you hit the glass hard and they can’t box you out, they gotta scratch you,” he said. “But it’s OK.”

It’s the type of edge with which Thompson has always played — and is trying to instill in young Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley today.

And why not? Like the rest of the Cavs, Thompson sees Mobley’s potential, as the former No. 3 overall pick enters his critical third year.

“When he first came in the league I called him a young Chris Bosh, now I’m calling him a young (Anthony Davis),” Thompson said. “So I’m going to hold him to a very high standard and I’m gonna be on him. I’m gonna be on him every day, because I know how great he can be. He’s already good, but I want him to be great.”

Thompson, 32, returned to the Cavs after three years away. In those three seasons, he played for four teams — the Celtics, Kings, Pacers, Bulls and Lakers. He actually went unsigned until the final day of the regular season, when he joined old running-mate LeBron James for a playoff push.

Now, Thompson is back, making him the lone member of the team who won a championship in Cleveland. (Reserve guard Sam Merrill won one with the Bucks.)

Thompson’s opportunities haven’t been as regular since he left, but his energy and aggressive, fun attitude remain. He says he’s tied for Loudest Man on the Cavs.

“Me and (Georges Niang),” he said. “It’s a two-man committee.”

On the other hand, Mobley is considered among the quietest guys on the team. So you can only imagine the contrast in personalities.

But it works, as Mobley is appreciative of not only Thompson but his teammates and coach J.B. Bickerstaff as well. They all have said they see greatness.

“It feels great. Having support is always beneficial to your growth,” Mobley said. “Knowing your guys have your back. Even if you fail or don’t do as well as you want initially, they’ve got your back and you just keep working. And eventually, you’re gonna keep growing.”

Mobley, Thompson and newcomer Damian Jones will have to fill in for injured center Jarrett Allen for the preseason, and maybe even the first few games while Allen recovers from an ankle injury.

That means Mobley might have to occasionally move over from his natural power forward position. Thompson knows all about that, having played both spots.

So it’s certainly a good thing for the Cavs that Thompson has arrived and chosen Mobley as his primary pupil.

“In order to be great I have to push him past his comfort level. So that’s what I’m going to do,” Thompson said.

“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve played with a lot of Hall-of-Fame, first-ballot, multiple-MVP, multiple-All-Star players. I just take what I learned from them, and just as they held me accountable, I’m doing the same with him.”

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply