Rebounding has been one of the Celtics’ glaring weaknesses for quite some time now. You’d have to go back more than a decade to find their last player who averaged double-digit boards. Tristan Thompson is here to change that.
Thompson is prolific on the glass. The 29 year-old veteran has averaged 10-plus rebounds for the past two seasons, finishing second in the NBA to Andre Drummond with 4.4 offensive boards per game last year. If he’s able to duplicate that success in his debut campaign with Boston, he’ll be the first Celtic to put up 10 or more rebounds per game since Al Jefferson averaged 11 back in 06-07. That 13-year streak without a double-digit rebounder is currently the longest for any NBA team.
The Celtics fell victim to Thompson’s tenacity on the boards in the first round of the playoffs in 2015 as well as the Conference Finals in 2017 and 2018. He was also a key component to Cleveland’s 2016 Finals run, so he brings championship pedigree as well. The jury is still out on how much better he’ll make the Celtics, but he’s guaranteed to improve their production on the glass, especially offensively. Eliminating opponents’ second-chance opportunities is something this team has struggled with for far too long.
There is no specific date for Thompson’s return (hamstring strain), although he appears to be making significant progress. The Celtics are set to open the season this Wednesday night when they take on the Bucks at the Garden.