The Cavaliers have some lofty expectations this season when it comes to attacking the glass.
With Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao in the starting lineup, they have two players who possess a relentless style of rebounding.
“We should be one of the top rebounding teams in the league,” Thompson said. “Andy goes non-stop. He gets 10-plus rebounds every night. He and I should get 10-plus every night, without a doubt, without question.
“We have Tyler (Zeller), who can rebound. We have Anthony (Bennett), who has long arms, and (Andrew) Bynum, too.”
The Cavs (4-4 in the preseason) outrebounded their foes in five of their eight preseason games. They averaged 45.9 rebounds per game in the preseason, compared to the opposition’s 41.
Many talk about the 6-foot-9, 238-pound Thompson averaging a double-double this season. It’s attainable, but it’s going to be difficult with Varejao on the court. Thompson averaged a career-high 9.4 rebounds last season with the 6-11 Varejao sidelined for all but 25 games.
“That’s the goal for me,” Thompson said. “The player I am, not averaging a double-double was a disappointment. That’s the goal for the season, and to win games.”
Thompson averaged a team-high 9.1 rebounds in the preseason. In his last three games, he averaged 12.7.
In back-to-back games against Philadelphia and Washington, he pulled down 16 and 14 rebounds, respectively.
“It’s my job,” Thompson said. “I’ve got to be active. My role on the team is to rebound, (to) keep balls alive and help start the fast break.”
Cavs coach Mike Brown raved about Thompson before the 76ers game, saying he has the potential to be one of the top defenders in the league.
“I take it as a challenge,” Thompson said. “He sees the potential in me, so I challenge myself to be great. Not just good, be great. So the pressure is on, but I like that Coach has the faith in me. Now I have to go out there and (not) let him down.”
Brown said the sky is the limit with Thompson.
“Tristan has done a solid job of rebounding the basketball,” he said. “Watching Tristan and how quick he gets off the ground and how long he is, he can be a big, big-time rebounder. He can rebound even better than he has now, and he’s done a decent job of it so far.