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Cavs’ Tristan Thompson decided to switch shooting hand

Aug 10, 2013, 5:48 PM EDT

Tristan Thompson, Kyrie Irving AP

There are many disadvantages to being left-handed, something both your’s truly and Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson are well aware of. The latter  decided to do something about it, though, as he’s apparently decided to make the switch to shooting both jumpers and free-throws with his right hand instead of his left.

The big man showed off his new skillset this week while playing for the Canadian National Team in a friendly scrimmage against Jamaica, but he’d been working on making the switch for awhile according to SportsNet’s Michael Grange.

“I was in Phoenix (last November) and I just started shooting right-handed and got a lot of compliments on it,” Thompson said this week while in training camp with the Canadian national team.

It’s baffling that he could just decide to shoot with his other hand and get compliments on it — nobody wants to watch this writer do anything on the basketball court with his right hand — but Thompson was still uneasy about making the switch to what had previously been considered his off-hand.

“At first I didn’t want to do it. I got to the NBA shooting right-handed, but then I thought about it and at the end of the day I want to be the best player I can be for the Cavaliers and the best player I can be for myself and if that takes me making an adjustment in my jump shot or anything else, why not make that switch?”

The reasons to not make the switch is because that decision is a historic one: Hall of Famer Jerry Colangelo told Grange that  he’s never heard of anyone doing it during his time in basketball and Thompson himself says that he thinks “it’s the first time ever in NBA history” for someone to make the switch mid-career.

Thompson made just 40 percent of his attempts away from the rim this past season (according to HoopsData’s information), a disappointing amount when considering that meant he made just 144 of his 360 attempts from the field. It wasn’t much prettier from the free-throw line, either, as he shot below 60 percent on 282 attempts in his second NBA season.

It’ll be interesting to see what sort of impact switching hands will have on Thompson’s game at the NBA level, but he says it’s made him much more confident in his shooting ability. And, as long as that shooting ability doesn’t continue to float around 40 percent from the field, everyone should benefit from Thompson’s decision to leave the lefties.

  1. norcal031 - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Ahhhh…I remember when I decided to switch hands…..Now it just feels weird using my right hand……

    • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      I don’t believe you.

    • jamieaadams - Aug 10, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      I have to use both. Just sayin’.

  2. funktron2x - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Huh? What is the basketball disadvantage to shooting lefty? Because right handers can more easily block the shot?

    • dondada10 - Aug 10, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Only reason I can think of, and it’s not a great one, is that you’re taught to close out with the opposite hand: left on a righty, right on a lefty. Players seem to always close out with their right, however. So generally, left handed shooters get closed out on better.

  3. trevor123698 - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    He just has tot work his ass off at it. its not all that hard to shoot with both hands. I can hit hook shots from anywhere on the floor 12 feet and in with both hands as well as shoot set jump shots with both hands. a number of NBA players can as well

  4. misterdreamer119 - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:54 PM


  5. saint1997 - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Sorry what are the major disadvantages to playing lefty? Harden seems to do pretty well at it

  6. funktron2x - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    not only that, but Manu Ginobili is often touted as having an advantage because he’s lefty and it is awkward to defend.

  7. money2long - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    i think kurt meant left handed in general , u know, like in life..not just basketball .. i think

  8. abchome - Aug 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    What are the many disadvantages of being left-handed? My brother is left handed, and his left hand is as good as my right hand while his right hand is light year better than my left hand.

  9. deavn - Aug 10, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    I’m not trying to act like I’m the next Lebron or anything, but I’m left handed and I dominate right handed players most of the time because they never know which way I’m going to go and they always try to defend my right side. It’s too easy.

    • Brett Crow - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      I’m pretty sure no one was going to make a LeBron comparison.

  10. longtallsam - Aug 10, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    If he can’t shoot better than 60% on his free throws, he should try shooting them underhanded. Rick Barry says he can make anyone at least a 75% FT shooter, teaching them how to shoot underhanded.

  11. legend30 - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Nothing against Tristan Thompson, but I still don’t understand why the Cavs passed up on Jonas Valanciunas.

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