Tristan Thompson imparting LeBron James lessons on young Kings

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Thompson bringing lessons from LeBron to young Kings roster originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Tristan Thompson was an integral part of the Cleveland Cavaliers team that upset the 73-9 Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, averaging a double-double in the thrilling seven-game series. After coming to the Kings in an offseason trade, Thompson hopes to bring that championship pedigree to a Kings roster featuring little playoff experience.

“I’m excited to be here,” Thompson told reporters last week (h/t Jason Anderson/Sacramento Bee). “This team has a lot of very talented young players and I’ve been on the other side when me, Kyrie and Dion were in Cleveland and LeBron came back. LeBron brought the energy and kind of brought that hard-work mentality each and every day, and I think it’s only right to take what I’ve learned from him and pass it on to the younger generation and our stars that are coming in this league.

“That’s how you keep this league growing and that’s how you keep the talent at a high level. Vets that learn great things from others and don’t want to pass it on, you’re doing a disservice to our league. It’s a brotherhood and a fraternity, so it’s my job to pay it forward and then when D. Fox and Tyrese and Davion get to my age, they pass it on to the next (generation) and that’s how you keep the league at a high level.”

Thompson isn't the only member of that 2016 Cavaliers team to have made his way to Sacramento over the years. Iman Shumpert was another critical part of that Cleveland roster, and played 42 games for the Kings during the 2018-19 campaign.

“Shump came in here with a championship pedigree,” Thompson said. “He was huge in terms of our run to win the championship. He had huge moments for us. He was huge for our team. Him coming in here and working hard and doing what he does was great, so I’m just going to continue that, continue that and keep building. Keep building it from what Shump and Cory left here, keep building from there and help these guys be the best they can potentially be.”

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Richaun Holmes should be the starter at center for the Kings this season, but Thompson will be an important piece of the bench with his rebounding ability and veteran leadership.

James has been as successful as any player in NBA history over his career, so any lessons Thompson can impart to this young team should serve the Kings well going forward.