Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson is an offensive rebounding machine. At 6-foot-9, he’s considered undersized for the position, yet it seems that he is always coming up with offensive boards.
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During the regular season, Double T ranked fifth in offensive rebounds per game in the NBA, with 3.7. The only players in front of him stand 6-foot-11 or taller. Eight games into this postseason, Thompson is averaging 4.9 offensive boards per game, best among players still in the playoffs.
If you think Thompson is just lucky to have offensive boards fall his way, you’re wrong. The 26-year-old has it down to a science. To get in the best position to give the Cavs second-chance opportunities off the glass, he even stands at different places on the court depending on which of his teammates is shooting the ball.
“Just watching the ball and watching where guys shoot,” Thompson told cleveland.com. “If a guy is shooting a shot in the corner, 70 percent of the missed shots usually come off that other side, and 30 percent hit off the front rim, so just playing the percentages and kind of studying your teammates’ shots throughout the course of the game.
“For instance, a guy like Channing [Frye], if he misses a shot, he has a lot of arc on his shot so if he misses it’s probably going to be close. J.R. [Smith], his shot is not as much arc as Channing, so if he misses it might be a little more long rebound. Just understanding your teammates. I’m hoping they make every shot. If not, I tell them, ‘Don’t worry, there’s a good chance I will be able to get that offensive rebound.'”
Besides getting offensive rebounds and kicking the ball out to a shooter for a possible assist, there are other reasons why he loves to go after them.
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“What I really lick my chops for is when you get the offensive rebounds at the end of the third quarter, fourth quarter. That really just sucks the life out of the opponent. You can see it in their face, especially when you’re on the road, it just takes the whole energy out of the arena. That’s what I live for.”
If the Cavs want to keep their impressive playoff run going into the Finals, they will need Thompson’s high motor and rebounding abilities. If you play basketball and want to improve your rebounding, listen to Thompson and study your teammates’ shots.
Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/National Basketball Association/Getty Images