Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson is left handed… and not a terribly good shooter that way. Last season he shot 39.7 percent beyond five feet from the rim and 60.8 percent from the free throw line left handed.
Thompson went with a radical fix: start to shoot right handed.
Don’t laugh — it’s working.
Through his first nine games with the Canadian National Team this summer (they had tune ups and are now competing in the FIBA Americas tournament) Thompson is shooting 78 percent from the free throw line, notes Michael Grange of Rogers Sports Net in Canada.
Small sample size alert (just 37 attempts), but this is a good sign.
Thompson is going to have competition for minutes at the four spot with No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, and a healthier Anderson Varejao (knee), plus in the paint there will be Andrew Bynum (if healthy) and Tyler Zeller.
Thompson has the athleticism and skills to be a key part of a rebuilding Cavaliers team, if he starts knocking down shots at a higher rate and hits his free throws like that, it’s going to be hard for Mike Brown to keep him off the court. And that’s a good thing in Cleveland.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).
Norman Powell – get out of here.
Jared Sullinger – get out of here.
Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.
The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.