Blogtable: Taking Mozgov or Thompson?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: New coach with toughest gig? | Best international player today? | Mozgov or Thompson?

VIDEOTimofey Mozgov’s game was sparked by a trade to Cleveland

> Timofey Mozgov or Tristan Thompson? Assuming the Cavs won’t sign both players to lucrative long-term deals, who’s the better choice for the money in Cleveland?

Steve Aschburner, Straight up, I’d prefer Tristan Thompson – five years younger, more vaunted upside, high-revving motor, great disposition, more versatility. But for this Cavaliers team, it’s Mozgov. Those four inches and 20 pounds or so he has over Thompson matter, even in today’s corner-3-crazy game. More than that, LeBron James “plays nice with” and really seems to value traditional big men, from Zydrunas Ilgauskas to Anderson Varejao to Mozgov. He banged the drum for TT as a “lifetime Cav” too, but that team took off after Mozgov’s arrival and James knows it.

Scott Howard-Cooper, It’s Thompson. In the conversation that Thompson will be back this season, Mozgov will cost less, and there is something to be said for that considering the money the Cavs have already pushed to the middle of the table. It will be slightly less if Thompson takes the qualifying offer or a lot less if Thompson and Cleveland do a new contract. Either way, Thompson is the better choice for the money. He has a longer future and more upside, along with the larger contribution now.

Shaun Powell, I’ll go with Timofey Mozgov if only because he’s a natural center, while Tristan Thompson must share the power forward position with a guy who just received a ton of money from the Cavs. Besides, Mozgov brings better offensive skills and a few extra inches in height.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comThompson is five years younger and has missed only six games in his four-year career, but he plays the same position as Kevin Love.  Mozgov, meanwhile, is the more important player right now, because he’s the better rim protector on a team that needs defense more than offense from its role players. If I could keep Mozgov at 2/3 the price of Thompson (giving me more flexibility to build around my core), it would be an easy choice.

Sekou Smith, I’m going with Tristan … until we see another half season, or more, of Mozgov playing the way he did in the playoffs (and specifically The Finals). They are both hugely important to Cleveland’s title chances going forward. And while Kevin Love could easily take those minutes Thompson played during last season’s run to The Finals, I still think the Cavaliers are at their best with Thompson controlling the paint with his rebounding and defense. It’s not an easy choice, but Thompson’s value on and off the floor wins out.

Ian Thomsen, Thompson is more versatile defensively – they can play small around him – and his departure would threaten a rift between the franchise and LeBron James. If they’re going to keep only one of them then it has to be Thompson, in spite of Mozgov’s effectiveness.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blogI thought Mozgov and Thompson were equally impactful in their own ways during the postseason for the Cavs. And while Mozgov has developed into a nice center, particularly when he’s playing alongside LeBron James, if I have to commit to one of these guys long term, I’m going with Tristan Thompson. Not only is Thompson five years younger than Mozgov, but it seems like last season, Thompson realized that hustle will get you everywhere, and he started playing with the pedal floored at all times. Thompson is not a great shooter, but he doesn’t have to be if he’s going to work the boards and take most of his shots from a few feet from the basket. The offensive skills can still be developed. But if he can sustain the hustle, that’s the guy I want on my team for the long haul.


  1. HurricaneKid says:

    The problem is that Tris is the 3rd best 4 on the team. Even with a rough year of acclimating Love was significantly better than Thompson in every way. And in today’s shrinking NBA LeBron should be playing more 4 with Love out. And since Tris can’t play the 5 against starters his impact for the Cavs is significantly lower than it would be for other teams. He grades out as a hustle bench player. And there is no way you can pay a guy who doesn’t know which hand he shoots with, who offers no rim protection and shot 82/224 from >3 ft (including playoffs) the kind of money he is demanding. I mean he is certainly a nice luxury to have but that is a really high price for a 2nd/3rd PF.

  2. Matty says:

    Im going with TT. Only because he’s younger, and may be able to develop while I think Mozzy has hit his peek, and his hands will always be like stone whereas TT is smooth in the paint and can hustle up and down, reguardless Sasha Kaun was brought in to help take some of the pain from losing one of these two talented players.

  3. robb says:

    mozgov, bigger and higher game IQ

  4. michael says:

    Cavs made mistake by giving Love all that money, they were better with TT and big Mozgov together while Love was on the bench. Now It looks like they might lose TT and lose LBJ in the process

  5. michael says:

    I like Mozy but TT is younger and bigger upside

  6. John says:

    Firstly, TT is a power forward and not a center. Certainly not a center that can replace Mozgov for the long term or short. His position has been filled by another power forward that’s getting Max money so why would ANY team pay max money to two players at the SAME position?

  7. sports fan says:

    I’d say Mozgov is more valuable in the short term & long term. They already have Love for power forward & LeBron can play that position too. Between the two Thompson is more replaceable. A good true center is very hard to come by.

  8. taekayo says:

    Though Thompson has more potential, I’d go with Mozgov in this situation. They already have Love, who isn’t a rim proctector, and can play as stretch 4. We’ve seen how LBJ worked well with Mozgov cutting inside. If the Cavs are healthy with Kyrie and Love as outside threats, LBJ and Mozgov can exploit the paint. And besides, since LBJ is already at his prime, and given he can leave any team any time he wants, the Cavs are always in “win now” mode. That’s why they swapped Wiggin’s potential (along with another #1 pick) for Love. Its just that LBJ and TT share the same agent that complicate things right now.

  9. Harriethehawk says:

    I’m going w Tristan Thompson too, but why haven’t they signed him. Are they nuts? Toronto is going to scoop him up, watch.

  10. dustydreamnz says:

    Small ball is in yet traditional centers seem to be so valuable. Mozgov for me because when he arrived, the Cavs took off.

  11. marc says:

    i am going with Tristan Thompson to. i really think He can’t improve better,give him a chance cause we all seen what is capable of doing i don’t have any problem with Mozgov but I prefer we take the future with him is younger he got a lot to gives us trust me i am not taking has a fan i am talking about a future if we want one day to do a repeat..