Tristan Thompson landed on an unprecedented decision heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season, his third year in the league and with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite shooting left-handed for his entire basketball playing life, Thompson is making the switch to being a right-handed shooter this summer.
Thompson’s switch to his right hand debuted with Team Canada this summer, playing in various competitions for his native country. The most obvious change is that he has been shooting all of his free throws with Canada right-handed. From what he’s shown in a relatively small sample size, the switch is working out quite well for him.
According to a tweet sent out from Michael Grange of Sportsnet, Thompson is shooting 78.4 percent from the charity stripe through nine games with Canada. In comparison, Thompson has shot just 58.6 percent from the free throw line for his career. Once again, it’s a small sample size with him having only shot right-handed in nine games and on 37 attempts, but it seems to be a solid start for him.
To put a value on how improving to a 78.4 percent foul shooter would help Thompson, he took 291 free throws last season and hit 177 of them, good for only 60.8 percent. However, had he shot 78.4 percent from the line, he would have made 228 of his free throw attempts, which would have lifted his points per game average from 11.7 to 12.3.
That’s not a huge improvement, but that also doesn’t factor in the possibility of his field goal percentage improving as he shoots right-handed. If Thompson can continue to get comfortable with the using his right hand, it could greatly improve his value moving forward in his career.
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