What's buzzing:

Ball Don't Lie

Tristan Thompson is shooting 20 percent better on free throws after changing shooting hands

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

View photo

.

Tristan Thompson looks towards a possibly bright future (David Liam Kyle/ Getty).

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson is currently undergoing a transformation that may be unprecedented in the history of the highest levels of basketball. As noted in mid-August, the third-year pro decided to switch shooting hands from his left to his right to improve his performance. Naturally ambidextrous and only 22 years old, Thompson has both the ability and youth to make this work. Still, it's just not something people usually do.

Somewhat surprisingly, Thompson appears to be seeing immediate returns on his switch. With Team Canada preparing for and now playing in the FIBA Tournament of the Americas, Thompson has had nine games to try out his stroke. As tweeted by Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet, he's doing quite well from the free-throw line (via PBT):

Team Canada is 2-1 with a fourth game set to be played against Uruguay on Tuesday, so it's important to remember that this is a small sample size with especially few games played in what could be considered a particularly competitive environment. On the other hand, these are real games, which means the typical dip in free-throw form from practice to in-game action may not be relevant. Plus, free throws would seem to have less variability relative to sample size than other shots, if only because players can more easily approach each attempt in the same way.

That factor also suggests that Thompson's move may not have an across-the-board positive impact. While a 20 percent jump in free-throw shooting constitutes a meaningful improvement, he presumably made this switch for his entire arsenal of shots. If, say, Thompson doesn't develop a consistent stroke from 15 feet, then the move is significantly less major.

Nevertheless, Thompson is clearly doing something right, and he deserves credit for exploring every option to improve his game. The question, of course, is if a mid-career change such as this one can have a lasting effect. It's a story worth keeping an eye on throughout the coming months.

View Comments (176)
  • Draymond Green is selling 'Cool story, Glenn' T-shirts

    Draymond Green is selling 'Cool story, Glenn' T-shirts

    Everyone's got to have a side hustle these days, right? … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 32 minutes ago
  • Durant to have foot surgery, season over

    Durant to have foot surgery, season over

    NBA MVP Kevin Durant will miss the rest of the season and have bone graft surgery next week to treat a fractured bone in his right foot. The Oklahoma City Thunder had said last week he likely would be shut down for the season. General manager Sam … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 5 minutes ago
  • Woman behind NBA ex-owner Donald Sterling's downfall paints two portraits of him

    Woman behind NBA ex-owner Donald Sterling's downfall paints two portraits of him

    By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The woman behind the downfall of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling painted two conflicting portraits of him in court on Friday, saying he was a kind, generous mentor and father figure to her … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 17 minutes ago
  • Stiviano: Sterling gave others gifts

    The woman whose recording of Donald Sterling led to the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers provided opposing views of the billionaire on Friday, describing him as a con artist, cheat and bigot who was also a sweet and loving father figure, brother and … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 30 minutes ago
  • Thunder's Durant needs surgery, out for season

    Thunder's Durant needs surgery, out for season

    (Reuters) - Kevin Durant, the NBA's reigning most valuable player, will miss the rest of the season as he needs another foot surgery, dealing a blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder's playoff hopes, the team said on Friday. The six-time All-Star will … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 45 minutes ago