During NBA Summer League broadcasts they often have various players and coaches join them during the game because talking about crappy basketball for two hours is difficult. During the Cleveland Cavaliers first Summer League game last Friday against the Lakers, Kyrie Irving joined Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr in the booth at the start of the second half. While Kyrie hammed it up with the former pros he talked about how and he and Dion need to work on their on-court chemistry and how he’s excited about having Andy back playing. He then mentioned how hard Tristan Thompson has been working to improve his game and just casually threw out that he’s now shooting right-handed.
I found this shocking and wasn’t even sure if I heard him right. And considering that none of the beat writers cared to make note of it I assumed I misheard him. But I went back and watched it last night and Kyrie definitely says “He’s developing a right-hand jump shot. He turned from a lefty to a righty if you guys don’t know. So with that right-hand jump shot next season we’ll look forward to some pick-and-pops with Tristan. [chuckles]”
WHY WAS A BIGGER DEAL NOT MADE OF THIS?????
I don’t know but it feels significant to me that a guy who’s been in the NBA for two years is changing which hand he shoots with. Those of us who have paid attention to Tristan’s game know that, while primarily a left-handed dominant player, he’s been very strong with both hands around the hoop and some people have even referred to him as being ambidextrous. Last year he developed what has become his go-to move where he posts on the left bock, dribbles to the middle, jump-stops in the lane and shoots that little right-handed push shot that appears impossible to defend. So it’s not terribly surprising that Tristan is able to make the conversion. But it should still be a story.
The first I saw anywhere about this was yesterday on FearTheSwoord.com where Conrad Kaczmarek, who’s in Vegas right now, wrote about Tristan shooting free-throws right-handed and looking pretty good doing it. They even got a photo for proof.
I don’t know about anybody else, but this news has me excited about the possibilities. Tristan has shown very good improvement over his two years in the league so far. The one big hole in his game is lack of shooting. I wasn’t confident that he would ever develop a reliable jump shot but I was fine with it as long as his post game continued to get stronger.
But if this switch to shooting right-handed is some sort of revelation and he develops a nice little 15-footer, then watch out NBA!!! Tristan is an incredibly likeable player and has endeared himself to Cavs fans with his relentless effort on the court as well as his hard work to improve off it. I’ve been excited about Tristan’s maturation as a player for a while now and I’m even more excited now.
On a related note, Tristan threw out the opening pitch at the Indians game this past Sunday. I sent out a tweet in an effort to find out which hand he threw with but got no response. However, Tristan posted an Instagram video that doesn’t show the actual pitch, but it appears that just before he throws that he’s going to do it right-handed. See for yourself…
Update: Tristan did in fact throw out the pitch right-handed as evidenced in this video from Cavs.com.
Again, I don’t understand why I’m the only one who seems to think this is a big deal.
 Reggie and Kerr together were an atrocious pairing. They were all over the place all game with no flow to their discussions whatsoever. They hardly paid any attention to the game and their background knowledge of the players was a joke. The Cavs got off to a terrible start and got their first basket on a breakaway steal and dunk by Tyler Zeller. This interrupted whatever conversation the boys in the booth were having at the time and Kerr just throws out the gem “Zeller with the slam there to continue the hot start for Cleveland.” Hot start? It was the first basket!!! You might say that he was confused about which team was having the hot start but the reality is that the Lakers weren’t burning down the nets either. Later, Kerr attempted to wow the audience with his knowledge of the players by commenting that Dion Waiters really wowed coaches and GMs in the pre-draft workouts with how hard he worked. Which I’m sure he would have…if he would have done any. As we are all aware, Waiters famously got a promise in the draft, left the combine early, and didn’t talk to or workout for any NBA teams prior to the draft. It bears noting that Steve Kerr is a former GM for a reason.