Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson spent his first two seasons taking jump shots and free throws with his left hand. Next season, he'll be making the unprecedented switch to shooting right-handed, according to Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet:
"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.
"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 is currently playing exhibition games for the Canadian national team in anticipation of the qualifying rounds leading up to this year's FIBA Americas tournament. While there, he's presumably working on his new shot.
Thompson switching dominant hands in the middle of his career is an unprecedented decision. There are instances of players shooting with their opposite hand extensively in games (Larry Bird dropping 20 of his 47 points against Portland with his left hand comes to mind) or in pinch situations (here's Kobe Bryant sinking a three from deep with his left against Mavericks), but there are no previously reported cases of a player permanently switching dominant hands.
While the move may seem drastic, Thompson's percentages from mid-range and the free throw line have left much to be desired. Thompson is a 58 percent free throw shooter on his career. He took 85 percent of his shots inside the paint last season, and made only 42 of the 112 mid-range jump shots he took, according to NBA.com:
Thompson is entering the third year of his career since being drafted fourth overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft. He played in all 82 games for the Cavaliers last season, averaging 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.