Tristan Thompson showed a ton of improvement in his second NBA season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his rookie season he averaged only 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game while shooting just 43.9 percent from the field. In his second season, though, Thompson put up 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game while shooting a more efficient 48.8 percent from the floor.
However, Thompson was incredibly limited on the offensive end of the floor in regards to the shots that he felt comfortable taking. Of his 799 total field goal attempts last season, only 17 of them came from outside of 15 feet and only 99 of them came from outside of 10 feet. Thompson had absolutely no faith in his mid-range game and from the foul line, where he shot just 60.8 percent from last season, either.
However, the 6’9” power forward is switching things up to try and improve. Despite shooting left-handed for his entire life, Thompson is going righty for the upcoming season. The original report came from Michael Grange of Sportsnet who reported the switch after Thompson debuted his right-handed approach at the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament while playing for Canada.
The decision to make the switch came after last season and after careful thought had been put into it. Thompson had always been ambidextrous to some degree. He as always shot a basketball left-handed, but throws a baseball with and brushed his teeth with his right hand. As he was quoted in the report as jokingly saying, “I’m all messed up. I’m still trying to figure myself out.”
There’s no telling what degree of success Thompson will have with switching hands this season. However, if his jumper improves because of that, it’s going to be enormous for his game and for the Cavs’ offense. Defenders will no longer be able to sag off of Thompson and will be forced to respect his mid-range jump shot. That will spread the floor as well as make Thompson more dynamic. Cleveland is already expected to make some noise, but if Thompson develops even further, they could really surprise the rest of the league.