Students of dexterity will have a lot to look forward in the upcoming NBA this season.
In Detroit, the Pistons will try to compete in a stacked Eastern Conference with an influx of lefties. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, one of the Cavaliers' promising young players will be making the rare switch from shooting left-handed to shooting right-handed.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland's 22-year-old power forward, has decided to adjust his stroke as he enters his third year in the NBA. It's not that Thompson struggled as a southpaw -- he made the All-Rookie Second Team in 2012 -- but he's betting that he can do better as a righty.
Thompson struggled shooting from outside 10 feet last year and became reluctant to try his luck (he only took 84 shots from outside 10 feet). During training sessions he began putting up shots with his right hand. Not only did it feel comfortable to Thompson, who is naturally "multi-handed," but he was pretty good at it.
"I was in Phoenix (last November) and I just started shooting right-handed and got a lot of compliments on it," Thompson told Michael Grande of SportsNet.ca. "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."
Thompson has the support of the Cavaliers organization, and he has been working with one of the team's shooting coaches over the offseason.
The move may be unprecedented in NBA history. Jerry Colangelo, a basketball lifer who is executive director of USA Basketball, says he's never seen anything like it.
"There are a lot of players who work hard so they can finish equally well with both hands," Colangelo told Grande. "But as far as changing the hands they shoot with? I’ve never heard of that. That's 1-in-1000 right there.”
(H/T to Deadspin)