The first four points of Cavaliers rookie guard Mychel Thompson’s NBA career couldn’t have come at a better time. Those first two jumpers he hit proved critical to a 4th quarter comeback win on the road Sunday, capped off by the last second heroics of Kyrie Irving, in what became the Cavs most exciting finish of the season so far. During that one-point win over the Celtics, Thompson finished with a team high plus / minus of +9 for the game as well, and an effort worthy of earning his first NBA start ever on Tuesday in relief of the injured Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson.
In that 93-90 home loss to the Celtics, Thompson connected of 2 of his 4 three point attempts for the night, scored 8, and dished out 4 assists to go along with, 1 rebound, 1 steal, and 1 massive rejection of a Mickael Pietrus jumper in 31 minutes of work. I caught up with Thompson for a minute afterwards to talk about what it felt like making his first start in the NBA, and our exchange is below:
Your first NBA start ever and you’re matched-up with Jesus Shuttlesworth, aka the greatest shooter in NBA history, with Paul Pierce flanked on his other wing and Kevin Garnett patrolling the paint. No pressure. Despite that though, and all those butterflies associated with the realization that you are actually in the process of living out a lifelong dream that millions of kids have but never accomplish, I thought Thompson held his own out there to be sure. He didn’t look nervous at all, played pretty solid, and probably earned himself a spot in the rotation for the next few games at least too.
Mychel’s younger brother Klay, Golden State Warriors rookie by way of the 11th overall pick, is averaging 7 ppg on 42% shooting from 3-pt range in 17 minutes per night this season in his own right as well. Pretty successful family. But while Klay has played in 19 NBA games so far, as opposed to the 3 Cleveland’s Thompson has appeared in for the Cavs, they’re both now tied in the NBA starts category.
So congrats on that start last night Mychel, when I was twenty-three I was not doing things as cool as that with my Tuesday nights.