It’s one of the more bizarre off-season story lines — Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson decided to switch his shooting hands. His first two seasons in the league he has been left handed and last season he shot 48 percent overall, 39.7 percent beyond five feet from the rim and 60.8 percent from the free throw line.
So he decided to become a right-handed shooter.
Laugh if you want but he was part of the Canadian national team for the FIBA Americas tournament and he shot 78 percent from the free throw line.
Back in Cleveland working out for the season, Thompson says the historic change — nobody can remember a player doing this — is going well, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but I think the transition is going more smoothly than one might assume, which probably means I was always right-handed and just never knew, probably because I lived in Canada,” he said, which isn’t quite as crazy as it sounds.
“I started playing basketball at such a late age,” said Thompson, who didn’t take basketball seriously until he was 12 or 13. “In America, you start playing when you’re 5 years old.”
Why do I feel like this is the sword fight scene in “The Princess Bride.”? Remember, first Inigo Montoya says he has bad news for the guy he’s losing the fight to, that he’s not really left handed. Then as Montoya gains the upper hand Westley says he’s not left handed either?
Who’s next? Anthony Bennett is young, maybe they can make him a lefty.
If Thompson can shoot well around the rim with both hand and show a little more consistency from distance, it will be a big step forward. The Cavaliers have the playoffs as their goal this year and Thompson taking a big step forward is needed for that.
Also a healthy Andrew Bynum, but that’s another issue.
Andre Drummond had a breakaway on Sunday against the Boston Celtics. Fans in Detroit should have been in for a treat from their franchise center — a former NBA Dunk Contest participant — but instead they got something worth of Shaqtin’ A Fool.
Unfortunately for Drummond, the result of the one man fastbreak was a blown dunk, a ball that went sky high, and a sheepish look from the Pistons center.
The Dallas Mavericks traded Andrew Bogut to the Philadelphia 76ers at the deadline for big man Nerlens Noel. Bogut, 32, was never expected to stay in Philly and he should be bought out soon.
There has been some speculation about what contender Bogut might be looking to join, or which might come calling. Due to CBA rules, Bogut could feasibly re-join the Golden State Warriors. Instead, it appears Bogut is expected to head the other direction and sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bogut would be Cleveland’s second center on the roster alongside Tristan Thompson, who slid over to the 5 full-time this season. The Australian big man would also be the second former Maverick to join the Cavaliers, as PG Deron Williams reportedly intends to sign with Cleveland as well.
Bogut has been less effective in limited minutes this season than he has in years past. While Bogut is still a good passer and rebounder, he has not been as productive on offense than prior seasons. That could largely be due to Dallas’ poor start, or because of nagging injuries. He suffered calf, knee, and hamstring injuries this season with Dallas, and it will still be a gamble for Cleveland to rely upon Bogut for a playoff run.
However, the Cavaliers could simply rest Bogut extensively, integrate him into their system, and have him ready for a second championship push through the Eastern Conference.
We’re still waiting for the move to be made official, but it appears as though LeBron James & Co. are bolstering themselves for the postseason.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was whistled for a foul on Sunday night while trying to grab a rebound over PJ Tucker. That came as a surprise to Nurkic, who had actually lost two teeth on the play and went to point out that fact to officials.
The play came midway through the fourth quarter, with Tucker underneath the basket and Nurkic standing behind him in the paint. Toronto’s Patrick Patterson missed a long 3-pointer, leading to a battle for the ball down low.
Nurkic was called for a push in the back as the two went up, but Tucker threw his arm and hit Nurkic on the left side of his face. That knocked out two of Nurkic’s teeth:
The Blazers big man recovered his teeth — which were false and part of a dental implant called a bridge — and handed them to Portland head trainer Geoff Clark.
But have no fear: just a few hours after the Blazers lost to the Raptors, 112-106, Nurkic had his teeth put back in by a dentist.
Future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett was known during his playing days for his exceptional conditioning. The athletic power forward was in a full sweat by tip-off, and constantly talking on both offense and defense.
So how did he do it?
According to JJ Redick, Garnett used to sing while running as a method of normalizing talking during a game. The practice was apparently modeled after Beyonce’s ability to dance and sing at the same time.
“One time I saw her working out, and she was doing her dances and she was singing while she was doing her dancing,” Garnett said to Redick. “So then I’m thinking to myself, maybe I should run and sing at the same time. So in the offseason, I would go to Malibu and I would go down to the beach, and when I run on the beach I would be like ‘Lalala lalala lalala,’ while I’m running. So then, when I get on the court and I’m getting back on defense and I’m talking on defense, I don’t get tired.”
That’s ingenious, and the kind of clever tactics you’d expect to come from a HOFer like Garnett.