My trade proposal involving the acquisition of Power Forward Tristan Thompson from Cleveland elicited much response from readers, most of it negative. I’m happy to engage in dialogue with intelligent commenters (I’m not so crazy about those who begin with “You’re an idiot…”, but mercifully I don’t get many like that), whether they agree or disagree with my notions, so hattips to Jensan, Matteemo, and Outside the Crease. In the case of Thompson, I think there’s good reason to discuss the trade again, but from a larger perspective, namely roster composition.
Some of you feel Thompson is redundant when the Toronto Raptors already have Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson. While their continued employment on our team is very much up in the air, for our purposes we’ll assume they are both still in town. Certainly all three play PF, but not in the same way, and that’s key. Tristan is a traditional close-to-the-bucket type, who uses positioning and timing to grab a significant number of rebounds. Patrick seems more comfortable on the perimeter. He’s a mobile help-defender out there, and on offense shows signs of being a stretch-four. If his deep shooting continues to improve, the trade of Steve Novak won’t hurt much at all. Amir is an interesting mix of skills. He’s the best one-on-one defender of the trio, and the only one who can spell Jonas Valanciunas at Centre without harm.
If you believe a good team’s roster includes 3 solid players at each of the 5 positions, we’re set at PF once Tristan is a Rap. What’s more, we’ll have reasonable injury insurance at C, where we’re currently exposed, and even at Small Forward, if you put Patrick out there. I’ll cheerfully admit that’s a reach, but I’d still like to see the 3 of them on the floor at the same time. One purpose of pre-season games is experimentation. We all remember when Ed Davis was around; he and Amir often hooked up on interior passing plays with pleasing results.
Finally, let’s mention Tristan’s citizenship. Yes, he’s Canadian, and yes, to me that makes his acquisition more compelling. That mysterious catalyst, chemistry, has received a lot of credit for the Raps’ successful season, which I’m completely on board with (have you watched the Detroit Pistons lately? Like me in high school, they fail chemistry). The San Antonio Spurs are the un-Pistons. Run your eye down their roster, and you’re not dazzled beyond Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Watch them move the ball on offense, and you quickly change your mind. Tristan is a good guy by all accounts, and would surely be thrilled to come home. We want happy players, not boat-rockers or grumblers.
Have I made my case? Please let me know in the Comments.