Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson claims to have plenty of respect for the Golden State Warriors.
Thompson has gone up against the Dubs in the finals the last four years, coming out on top just once. And now that he's set to watch postseason basketball from TV this year, the player has revealed what he respects about his former finals opponents.
"That's the one thing about those guys, even though they have some veteran guys, who some people might say are at the later part of their career, but [Andre] Iguodala has always had big games against us in the Finals." he told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes on the latest episode of his Posted Up podcast.
"People always be like 'He's not a scorer' or 'He doesn't make free throws.' Whenever he plays us, he always makes 3's and he always makes free throws. But that's what those veteran players who have played in big moments are always ready to play."
Iguodala, considered to have put his best basketball behind him some years ago, has been a big part of the Warriors' success and even earned himself the prestigious award of Finals MVP after coming up big against the Cavs in 2015.
The veteran star averaged 16.3 points in the series and was the second-highest scorer behind Steph Curry. He also scored 25 points in the Game 6 clincher that year.
Thompson also talked up other veterans such as Shaun Livingston - still with Golden State - and Leandro Barbosa, who is now playing in Brazil after a 14-year career in the NBA.
"Even Shaun Livingston. He's bound to have a big game against us in the Finals," Thompson added.
"Everyone says Shaun's not really a scorer but he comes in and has 17 against us. [Marreese] Speights doesn't play much, but he comes in and has eight points. You're like, he doesn't play all series, comes in and has eight points. Leandro Barbosa. It's like those guys always have big games. Their guys were always able to stay ready and you always got to respect that as a competitor that their guys are always ready to go."
What This Means
It's a bit weird hearing this come from Thompson, given that he was the one Cavs player one would think would keep any praise for the Warriors to himself.
The forward is also not a fan of Draymond Green and they've had their spats over the last few years. But it's great to hear him acknowledge that his team was outmatched by a better one in three of the last four finals and even laud them for it.