Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Spend Offseason with Tristan Thompson

Former Cavaliers big man and current special assistant to Chris Grant Zydrunas Ilgauskas will be spending a lot of time with current Cleveland power forward Tristan Thompson come this off-season.

Prior to the team’s loss to the Utah Jazz, the team stated that the long-time center will work with the very raw Thompson, hopefully expanding an offensive arsenal that is rooted mostly in dunks and put-backs. The goal would be to increase Thompson’s range, potentially adding a mid-range jump shot, an element which the 7-foot-3-inch Ilgauskas regularly.

“He’s a two-time All-Star,” Thompson said of Ilgauskas. “He has been a great pro, he’s been great for the city. In terms of knowing basketball, he’s a great guy to look up to and learn from.”

Presently, the team is working with Thompson on his offensive skill set. The Plain Dealer’s Tom Reed reports that the former Texas Longhorn also worked with Tim Duncan this past offseason. On the season, he is averaging 6.9 points (41.8 percent shooting), 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in just under 20 minutes per game.

[Related: From Post-season Hopes to Ping-Pong Balls in Two Short Weeks]

(Source: The Plain Dealer)

  • mgbode

    List of shots I want Z to teach TT:

    1. The Big-Z slap-back
    2. FT shooting!!!! (also, can use same form for 15fters)
    3. The Big-Z slow-lane drive (think Finals vs. Spurs where we wondered if Z had his left turn signal stuck on too)
    4. Did I mention FT shooting?

  • me gusta

  • This can only make TT better!  good news..

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This is a wonderful thing.  Not only can Z teach him a number of offensive skills, but how to be a consumate pro.

  • BrownsFanSF


  • BrownsFanSF

    I loved Big Z’s slow motion post moves.  Classic example that if your footwork is good, the move doesn’t always have to be super quick.

  • Bobby

    Awesome!!!!…. Z is a multi talented guy. Was my favorite player for that reason. Just a great guy. Glad he’s back with the team. I hoped a coach but oh well. Maybe our future GM would be great. Just look how much better of a player/professional Anderson is now because he had Big Z to mentor. I was hoping for this when they hired Z as a GM assistant. TT reminds me of D. Howard when he was drafted. Great energy, hops, long reach, bad offense, bad free throws, good defense, shot blocking. But unlike Howard TT wants to work harder than anyone to be a great all around player. Howard does not work like you would think on his offense. He admits he does go all out to get a better defensively. I KNOW Z will teach him to be a great big man in the NBA.

  • Bobby

    Sorry….. I meant D12 does not work on his offense. I should know I live near Orlando…. Moving back to Cleveland this summer.

  • eldaveablo

    Can we please make this a reality show? I would pay to see this. 

  • Jaker

    This is very, very good news. Especially since TT is working with a former Cav, let alone one of the city’s favorites.

  • Kildawg

     I think the Cavs actually had something like this figured when Big Z was brought in to help the team after retirement. Z’s only one of like five or so players to have a retired jersey. Hopefully the Cavs can channel a mix of the mid-late 80s and mid 2000s and hopefully win it all in 2014 or 2015.

  • porkchpxprss

    I’m not getting my hopes up for TT to come back next year  as black Kevin McHale.  I think that 15 foot range is going to be a couple of years away.  I hope TT comes back next year with greatly improved footwork, how to use your body to get separation on the baby hook(as opposed to just trying to outjump the defender) and a little bit of comfort with his back to the basket.  As fast as he is with the spin move off the dribble he could be a handful if he can replicate it in the post. 

  • Harv 21

    This guy is so quick and strong that with his soft hands he could be a dominating post player. He needs a couple of pet moves and countermoves. His explosiveness means that he won’t have to be extremely clever underneath, like McHale.

    Whether Z is the guy to teach a guy how to exploit quickness and strength is a different issue. Z can teach him jumper form, but won’t be teaching post stuff from personal experience since Z basically relied solely on his length his whole career. But the geometry teacher doesn’t have to be a triangle. I’d look at this is as much a test run for Z to see how the organization might use him.

  • mgbode

    no.   Big Z and Eyenga is the buddy-style reality show that I want to see.  With special guest appearances from Delonte West.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This is what I’m hoping for too… I don’t think Thompson is going to develop Ilgauskas-like range and the sweet touch on his jump shot at any point in his career, but I think he can learn footwork in the post from Z.  Also, if you can learn to shoot over a guy who is 7’3″, that’s gotta be a good thing.