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)
  • Rating the items in Riley Curry's giant playhouse on a scale of 1 to Fun

    Rating the items in Riley Curry's giant playhouse on a scale of 1 to Fun

    NBA MVP Stephen Curry, his wife Ayesha, and their daughters Riley and Ryan have quickly become basketball’s most visible family. While the attention hasn’t always been positive, the Currys have welcomed their status as celebrities. Riley is not … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 13 hours ago
  • Los Angeles celebrates 'Kobe Bryant Day'

    Los Angeles celebrates 'Kobe Bryant Day'

    It’s been a whirlwind retirement for Kobe Bryant. On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers legend rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to unveil his new $100 million venture-capital fund. The date marks the two jersey numbers (8 and 24) … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 17 hours ago
  • Ex-NBA player Jacobson, wife charged in Minnesota home sale

    Former NBA player Sam Jacobson and his wife are charged with felonies in the sale of a Minnesota home five years ago. Jacobson and his wife, Traci Jacobson, each were charged Tuesday with theft by false representation and theft by swindle. The … More »

    AP - Sports - 19 hours ago
  • Lakers ink No. 2 pick Ingram, China's Yi

    Lakers ink No. 2 pick Ingram, China's Yi

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers have signed top draft pick Brandon Ingram and Chinese NBA veteran Yi Jianlian and re-signed center Tarik Black. … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 hours ago
  • LA officials declare Kobe Bryant Day

    LA officials declare Kobe Bryant Day

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lakers fans packed Los Angeles City Hall chambers to witness the mayor and other officials declare Kobe Bryant Day in honor of the retired NBA superstar. … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 hours ago