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Pistons’ Monty Williams reveals message to Ausar Thompson after benching

Detroit Pistons head coach Monty Williams is hopeful that Friday can be a learning moment for Ausar Thompson after the rookie was benched in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Thompson had a productive first half for the Pistons, recording nine points, nine rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes. However, Thompson was pulled just 1 minute, 45 seconds into the third quarter after picking up his third and fourth fouls. He didn’t return to the game.

The decision to sit him for the remainder of the game was likely a surprise to many, considering Thompson has emerged as one of the most productive players on the team. He has been perhaps the Pistons’ top perimeter defender and one of their top rebounders.

Williams explained what factored in his decision to pull him.

I think any young player with that kind of talent is going to have moments like he had tonight. I can’t be the coach that I’ve told them I’m going to be if I continue to put him out there and let him play through those kinds of lulls where he is turning it over and not taking the shots that we want him to take.

Thompson is averaging 11.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals on 43.6% shooting from the field. He ranks second in the league in offensive rebounds (52), sixth in total rebounds (134) and sixth in blocked shots (23).

The fifth pick has looked the part of being one of the top first-year players this season. He recently became the first player since 1978 to tally at least 115 rebounds, 35 assists, 20 blocks and 10 steals over the first 12 games of his career.

Williams was upset with the way his team started the game after trailing, 35-26, at the end of the first quarter and for passing up open shots. They also finished with 17 turnovers as a team, with Thompson accounting for five of them.

The contest will serve as a learning moment for Thompson and the rest of the team after dropping their 10th straight game. Williams will address the situation with Thompson on Saturday.

“I gotta reiterate how much I believe in him, and we believe in him,” Thompson said. “We believe in the result because he puts the work in. We want to see him do what we see him do in practice in games. I’m hopeful that he’ll learn the value of the ball, being solid rules the day and we trust him. We’re going to put him back out there again and expect him to be the player we’ve seen since the summer.”

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire