The Cavaliers have a lot of questions to answer after dropping Game 2 of the NBA Finals 122-103 as the Warriors took control of the series as it heads to Cleveland.
While there are plenty of legitimate questions to pose to the Cavs players, not every question is a good one and with the players obviously on edge, it’s in reporters best interest to word their questions as best they can. It’s always tricky firing off questions in a scrum or at the podium as there’s an odd amount of pressure you feel to get your question out quickly and concisely, but just like the players have to perform on the court, it’s the Finals and you have to be at the top of your game asking questions as well.
With the media circus that comes with the Finals, you run into a lot more situations where players scoff at questions or get mad outright at something asked of them. We saw LeBron James walk out of his presser after Game 1 and tell a member of the media to “be better,” and on Sunday night, Tristan Thompson received a question he felt was egregiously bad and offensive to the point of walking out of the room, thus ending his availability early.
Thompson was asked if he felt “helpless” when forced to guard Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the perimeter and didn’t take kindly to that question, immediately searching for his stuff and grumbling “that’s f*cked up” as he promptly walked out of the scrum.
This is a great example of a legitimate question being worded poorly and receiving a justifiably upset response from a player. Asking Tristan Thompson if he’s having any difficulties in switches on the perimeter against the Warriors backcourt or if there are adjustments he thinks he and the Cavs need to make would be more than acceptable. Asking Thompson if he feels “helpless” is a bit crass and is almost always going to lead to the player getting defensive at best or, at worst, storming off like Tristan does.
There’s a fine line between asking a good, tough question and pissing a player off. That line moves with each player (and the relationship they have with each media member), so it can be tough, but as a general rule of thumb, don’t ask a professional basketball player if they feel “helpless” in any scenario if you want an actual answer and not for them to simply get mad at you.