After getting a tape job on his swollen right index finger late last season, Charlotte Hornets righthanded center Mason Plumlee decided to switch to shooting free throws with his left hand. As the Duke basketball product noted then, it felt like the perfect time for a drastic fix to a glaring weakness in his game.
"It's no secret," Plumlee humbly told the media about his past shooting woes at the charity stripe. "It's not like I had anything to lose based on how I was shooting from the free throw line...It didn't feel like something that was uncomfortable. So after I saw the first couple go in, I just stuck with it...It's a good ball. So I'm going to stick with it."
Before the switch in March, the 32-year-old Plumlee, who has knocked down 55.7 percent of his foul shots across his nine-year pro career after shooting 58.7 percent in his four years with the Blue Devils, was shooting a career-worst 36.0 percent for the season.
But he went 17-for-32 at the foul line from there on out as a makeshift lefty, improving his 2021-22 mark to 39.2 percent — albeit still the lowest of his career.
And as promised, Plumlee stuck with it, redisplaying his southpaw stroke in the Hornets' preseason opener on Sunday, a 134-93 loss at the Boston Celtics. Despite missing his first three charity attempts while drawing some not-so-kind comments on social media, the returning starter shot 4-for-8 from the line, all with his left hand.
Plumlee finished his 15 minutes on the floor with eight points, six rebounds, and one steal while shooting 2-for-3 from the field.
None of those three shot attempts were from the 3-point line, where the 6-foot-11, 245-pounder is 2-for-41 for his career. However, during warmups, Plumlee hinted at a new look from deep with — you guessed it — his left hand. In the clip below, he drained five of his 10 lefty attempts from multiple spots around the arc.
Ugly? Sure. But effective? Well, the jury is still out on that.
The other Duke basketball product on the Charlotte Hornets' roster, rookie Mark Williams, looks like the team's third-string center, behind Mason Plumlee and Nick Richards. He played 11 minutes against the Boston Celtics, totaling two points and two boards.
Meanwhile, the former Duke basketball one-and-done who stars for the Celtics, Jayson Tatum, tallied 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and five turnovers in his 22 minutes of action.
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