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.
This is probably not going to show up in “And That Happened” but it was pretty impressive nonetheless.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell was among the many NBA players and celebrities at the James Harden Celebrity Softball game (part of his J-Town weekend of events). Mitchell came up with one on and… yard.
Is there anything Mitchell can’t do?
He wasn’t the only celebrity to knock it out of the park, Travis Scott sent one to Astroworld. Harden was impressed.
Jayson Tatum had an impressive rookie season: 13.9 points and five rebounds a game, 43.4 percent shooting from three, a 15.3 PER, and a strong playoff run that helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
Where did he turn to get better this summer? Kobe Bryant.
While a Celtic reaching out to a Laker legend for advice may throw an old-timer off, there are few better students of the game than Kobe, let alone ones as well respected by a generation, a guy who can get through to them. Tatum worked out with Kobe and was clearly excited about it speaking to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.
A stronger Tatum who can punish mismatches in the post is a scary thing.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown led a real push for the Celtics in the postseason, it will be a bit of an adjustment with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back because the young stars may not get the same number of touches and opportunities. The pie is going to be divided up more ways. With Brad Stevens at the helm we all expect the transition to go smoothly, and for the Celtics to contend for a title, but it is something to watch early in the season.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Bob Bass, the former San Antonio and Charlotte general manager who was an integral part of the front office for most of the Spurs’ first 20 years in South Texas, has died. He was 89.
Bass’ death was confirmed by the club Saturday in a statement from coach Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Express-News reported that Bass died Friday at home in San Antonio after a series of strokes.
“Over the course of four decades, Bob Bass had a huge impact in both the ABA and NBA,” Popovich said in a statement released by the team. “BB was a true pioneer in the world of professional basketball. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the game were inspiring. We send our condolences to the entire Bass family.”
After getting hired as coach during the Spurs’ second season in San Antonio in 1974-75, Bass joined the front office as general manager when the club moved from the ABA to the NBA in 1976.
The two-time NBA Executive of the Year spent 20 seasons with the Spurs in various roles – returning three times as coach – before going to Charlotte as the GM in 1994. He spent nine seasons with the Hornets. Bass coached his alma mater of Oklahoma Baptist from 1952-1967, first joined the ABA as coach of the Denver Rockets in 1967-1968. He went back to college at Texas Tech from 1969-1971, then back to the ABA with the Floridians in 1971-1972 and the Memphis Tams in 1973-1974 before landing with the Spurs.
Bass had a 311-300 career regular-season coaching record in the ABA and NBA.
It’s a little surprising Jamal Crawford is still available as a free agent. Yes, he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, but the man can still get buckets off the bench and averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota.
He turned down an $4.5 million player option and is still waiting for a contract. What is he looking for? He talked about it with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in a story about the amazing pro-am Crawford runs in Seattle every summer.
The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is an unrestricted free agent, which he said is equally worrisome and exciting…
“Fit is first and foremost when I’m thinking about where I’ll play next,” said Crawford, who wants to play another 2-3 years. “Last year, I may have made the mistake of not thinking fit all the way through.
“You look at my career, when the fit was right, I contributed on the court. … I know people that care for me want me to win (an NBA title), but I don’t know if my career will be defined by that.”
Crawford’s name was rumored with contenders such as Golden State and Houston, but nothing came of any of it. At this point Crawford is not going to be able to be as picky about fit, he may have to look at any offers that come in.
Most teams’ rosters are set, and at this point in the summer most teams are happy with their rosters, or at least have talked themselves into being happy with it. Crawford may be a guy who gets a call a couple weeks into training camp, or a week or two into the season, when a team realizes its bench was not as impressive as it thought. There are teams he could still help, even if those teams don’t realize it yet.