It’s been another tough season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but a couple of their veterans are hopeful about the future of the team.
Tristan Thompson, in particular, has at least a trickle of optimism about the Cavs’ young backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
“The new faces,” Thompson said when asked stood out most in 2019. “Young guys getting better. We added some good young pieces. I’m happy. I’m happy with our young guys. They want to learn, they want to be great and they’re going to keep pushing day in and day out.”
While Sexton has played well, Garland has struggled, averaging just 11.3 points a game this season on 40.1 percent field-goal shooting.
Thompson’s own future with the team is in doubt, as he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. Lately, he’s been the subject of trade rumors, but he’s maintained a positive attitude about himself and the team’s young players.
“I don’t get frustrated at all,” Thompson said. “Since Day One, I’ve been through the highs and lows so I’m here for the long haul, I’m here to stick it out and help these young guys.
“No shortcuts. Do the right thing day in and day out. Don’t cheat the game. Be good to the game and the game will be good to you. What you put in is what you’re going to get out of it. That’s what I try to tell them every night and every game that we are out there. Put your best foot forward, work on your game every summer and the results will show.”
Kevin Love, who himself is likely to get traded this season, is also high on the Cavs’ future.
“There’s a lot of promise. I’m hoping there will be leaps and bounds for the second half of the season,” Love said. “Guys will start to figure it out, continue to get better and hopefully that means better results. Like any young players, they just have to be more disciplined.
“Like with KP (Kristaps Porzingis), early on I thought, ‘This kid has a chance to be really special, has all the tools.’ You can see flashes and he’s played more under control. The more minutes he gets the better he is going to be. Excited to see where him and the other guys go.”
Although Cleveland ended 2019 with a 20-point loss to the Toronto Raptors, it has been playing better of late. Before that loss, it had won four of its last five games and five of its last eight.
Its first five games of January will be mostly against teams that are under .500, which will give it an opportunity to improve even more.