Central Notes: Thompson, Griffin, Gibson

Tristan Thompson is showing the Cavs his value with his aggressive rebounding and play around the rim during the playoffs, Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders writes. While there is a call around the league for big men who can stretch the floor with their shooting, Thompson is focused on continuing to improve in the paint area, Camerato notes. “You try to come back every year with something better and add something to your game,” Thompson said. “For me, I’m going to continue getting better and working on my game. Who I am now is not who I’m going to be a year from now or moving forward. I still want to get better and add things to my game. But for this year, for this team, which is my priority and my main focus, is how I can be an asset and help.” The 24-year-old can become a restricted free agent this summer provided the Cavs tender him a qualifying offer worth $6,777,589.

Here’s more out of the Central Division:

  • While LeBron James‘ return certainly revitalized the Cavs franchise, GM David Griffin was the one who laid the groundwork for the team to contend this season, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. The rookie GM finished second to Golden State GM Bob Myers in the voting for Executive of the Year for the 2014/15 campaign.
  • Timofey Mozgov has fit in seamlessly with the Cavs since being acquired from Denver earlier this season, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes in his profile of the Russian big man. “It does seem like he has been here longer than just since January,” guard Kyrie Irving said. “He is a guy who makes things fun off the court, but you know on the court he is going to have your back. He is tough. That is big for us.
  • While the additions of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic have diminished his playing time and stats this season, Taj Gibson could be the key to the Bulls advancing in the playoffs, Steve Aschburner of NBA.com writes. “Taj is always important,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s the one thing you can’t overlook, what he brings to our team, his defense, his rebounding. He’s probably our best low-post defender. He’s our best guy at moving his feet. Offensively it’s hard to put a small on him — he can overpower you inside with his post game. Second shots. He’s got a good 17′ shot, it’s not like you can disregard him. You’ve got to pay attention to him. He’s critical for our team.

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