When veteran Tristan Thompson became available earlier this week, experts felt he’d have a decent market of teams interested in his services. However, it became clear right away that there would be no courting sessions or bidding wars. Media outlets revealed that the veteran big man planned to sign with the Chicago Bulls the moment his contract with the Indiana Pacers ended. It was a bit of a surprise that he’d made up his mind that fast.
Now there is some context as to why that is. While joining one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference was a big reason for Thompson’s decision, there was an additional important factor. After the Bulls’ big 112-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, the 30-year old revealed that he idolized Dennis Rodman growing up. The former All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, and seven-time rebounding champion was one of the greatest role players in NBA history.
Somebody that Thompson has tried to emulate since he was young.
It was a great night for the longtime big man as first impressions go. In just 13 minutes of work off the bench, he managed 13 points, six rebounds, and a steal. His presence on the defensive end was felt immediately. A big reason the Bulls were able to hold the normally potent Hawks offense in check most of the evening. Rodman would’ve been proud. He did much the same for the Bulls during his three-year run.
The scary thing about this team is they’re not even close to full strength. Two of their best defenders, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, are still recovering from injuries. Yet Chicago remains 1st in the East and has now won six straight games. DeMar DeRozan is at the heart of MVP conversations and Ayo Dosunmu has a strong case for Rookie of the Year.
With Tristan Thompson bringing sorely needed depth in the front court, this team could be one that nobody wants to play come playoff time.
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