Tristan Thompson.

Tristan Thompson is set to start at center for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs

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As impressive as Tristan Thompson can be on his day, the Cleveland Cavaliers man often takes a backseat in the Cavs lineup.

LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are, without a doubt, the marquee names in Ohio.

When Tristan Thompson signed a five-year, $82 million deal last summer, more than a few eyebrows were raised about the cash that the Cavs were willing to throw at the 25-year-old.

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However, it looks like coach Tyronn Lue may have found the best use of Thompson that could make that long-term deal appear more than worthwhile.

The Canadian moved into the Cavaliers starting lineup at the expense of Timofey Mozgov for the clash with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

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Thompson put up nine points, 10 boards and one block at the five spot and is a much more mobile option compared to his Russian counterpart.

Mozgov is averaging 6.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game this season, and that's an alarming decline for the 29-year-old who managed 10.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a night last year en route to the NBA Finals.

When asked about placing the 6'9" Thompson at the five spot for the game against the Hawks, Lue said: "I just wanted to."

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors

However nonchalant his response may be, Lue looks set to persist with his new look center after Thompson racked up over 36 minutes in the Cavs 109-94 victory over Atlanta.

For Thompson, it doesn't make a difference where he is deployed or when; he's still going to apply the same principles.

"It's the same thing, it makes no difference," Thompson told prior to the Hawks game. "Come in, play hard, rebound, defend, finish around the rim. The same thing I was doing with the second unit. It's just that you got to do it from tipoff instead of just reading the game to get a feel. You got to go out there and set the tone. So, stay out of foul trouble and do what I need to do."

Should the standings stay they way they are, the number one seeded Cleveland Cavaliers are on course to clash with the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Detroit Pistons v Dallas Mavericks

That would pit Thompson head to head with Andre Drummond; the leading rebounder in the NBA who is having a career season.

However, the seemingly new Cavs pivot appears unphased by the prospect and has confidence in his game.

"He's an All-Star and he's playing very well this year, averaging 14 and 14 or whatever it is," Thompson told of Drummond, who is putting up 16.3 points and 14.8 rebounds per game this season.

"He's a big part of the team and he's a big guy, but at the same time, I got to do what I'm good at to make him uncomfortable just using my quickness and speed and trying to find ways to frustrate him. So, I'll be fine. I'm too young to be worried about if my body is going to take a beating. So, I just got to be ready to play."

Eastern Conference
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
LeBron James
Kevin Love

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