With Cavaliers season expected to tip off in just four weeks, the Wine and Gold are receiving excellent returns on a pair of young post players. The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto has the scoop on Tristan Thompson and Samardo Samuels, two players who will have to see substantial improvement if this extremely young Cavaliers roster1 is to progress from back-to-back lottery seasons.
“Tristan Thompson has spent more time at the practice facility than any Cavalier this summer,” writes Pluto. “The goal for the 6-9 power forward is to average 10 rebounds and 10 to 12 points. He averaged 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28 starts last season — and they want that rebounding number to rise. He’s only 21.
“A year ago, Samardo Samuels arrived at camp close to 20 pounds overweight,” he continues. “He has been at the facility often this season and is in excellent shape, say team sources. With Jamison gone to Lakers, power forward is wide open. Thompson is expected to start. The Cavs want four big men for center/power forward. Three spots are taken by Thompson, Varejao and rookie Tyler Zeller. That leaves Samuels competing with undrafted free agents Michael Eric (Temple), Kevin Jones (West Virginia) and Jon Leuer (acquired on waivers).”
As for Samuels’ competition, the team went to decent lengths to acquire Jones immediately following the draft. Eric earned his spot due to his size as well as a fairly impressive run with the team’s Summer League squad. Leuer impressed many in his limited time last season, providing several highly efficient, double-digit scoring efforts for the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Anderson Varejao, turning 30, will be the oldest player on the 15-man roster [↩]