Wait, I think I've heard this joke before. So DeAndre Jordan's little league coach calls up DJ's parents and asks, "just to be clear, your son is left handed?"
"Right!" they said, as they immediately hung up the phone.
And ever since then, DJ has been playing with the wrong hand his entire life. It all makes sense now! Except that never happened, and DeAndre Jordan reverting to his right hand is likely never going to happen either. Why would he even consider this to begin with? According to Dan Woike of the OC Register, some of Jordan's teammates actually think that the struggling free throw shooter may in fact be right-hand dominant, rather than left-hand dominant.
"I can’t tell what hand he is. I can’t tell half the time," Clippers forward Paul Pierce said. "It looks like he shoots with his left the same as he does with his right."
Similarly, the Clippers' sharpshooter JJ Redick agreed with this idea:
After the game, J.J. Redick, maybe jokingly and maybe seriously, said for the past two seasons he has told Jordan to shoot free throws with his right hand. "He jumps off his left foot, which is how most right-handed people jump," Redick said. "Their left foot is their dominant foot. He shoots every single jump hook, and tonight, running hook, with his right hand. He finishes around the basket with his right hand. He’s really good at it."
Should DeAndre Jordan decide to change things up, this wouldn't be the first time a player switched hands this late in his basketball career. In fact, the Cleveland Cavaliers' Tristan Thompson, who also struggles with his free throws, changed his shooting hand his third year in the NBA. While this may have initially seemed like a game changer in the free throw department, as his FT% went up by nearly 8%, it has once again dropped to more or less what he was initially at (about 61% for those who are curious).
However, it doesn't seem like DeAndre plans to pursue this path, as he is very insistent on being left-handed.
"I tried to shoot with my right hand, and it was pretty much the same. Maybe worse," he said. "I think I’m going to stick with the left because I’ve been practicing that for awhile."
If you ask me, this is the right decision... or the left decision? I don't know anymore, but the point is: DeAndre Jordan should not introduce a new factor in his quest to improve his free throw shooting, especially with his recent improvement. At this point, I firmly believe that it is largely a mental hurdle as well as just being out of rhythm during the game. My guess is that like many poor free throw shooters, he can nail them at a solid rate in practice, but as well know, in game is an entirely different story. His shot mechanics do not seem problematic at all, so why change that aspect of it? At the end of the day, left hand, right hand, underhanded, or whatever gives DJ the upper-hand is what is important, and it seems his left hand is what he feels most comfortable shooting free throws with.