Lefty Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson has switched to shooting righty

Saturday August 10th, 2013

(Rocky Widner/Getty Images) Shooting lefty, Cavs forward Tristan Thompson has made 60.8 percent of his free throws during his first two seasons. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

Hoping to improve his lackluster shooting, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson is attempting to make a possibly unprecedented switch.

The 22-year-old, who has shot jumpers and free throws with his left hand for his entire life, has begun to shoot righty, according to SportsNet's Michael Grange.

Thompson, entering his third season with the Cavs, said he throws a baseball right-handed, writes left-handed and brushes his teeth right-handed.

He discovered last November that he shot significantly better righty than lefty, but did not commit to the switch until this summer, when he began to train with shooting coach Dave Love.

From SportsNet.ca:

“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.

“A week later when we got back to Cleveland and got one of the ball-boys to record me and I shot 100 jumpers with my left and 100 with my right and it was significantly better with my right-hand. There was just a better flow to it with my right, it looked smoother.”

Executive director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo, who has worked in the NBA since the 1960s, said he has never heard of an NBA player switching his shooting hand mid-career.

“No,” he said flatly when I asked him. “There are a lot of players who work hard so they can finish equally well with both hands, but as far as changing the hands they shoot with? I’ve never heard of that. That’s 1-in-1000 right there.”
Thompson shot 48.8 percent from the field and 60.8 from the free-throw line last season, significantly improving on his percentages from his rookie season (43.9, 55.2). But he shot just 39 percent from beyond ten feet, according to hoopdata.com.

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