Nuggets' Robinson goes left while trying to get wrist right

Denver guard hoping to play Thursday against the Chicago Bulls
by Aaron Lopez

If Nuggets guard Nate Robinson isn’t officially ambidextrous, he’s darn close.

The right-handed Robinson will occasionally shoot left-handed while taking on teammates in post-practice 3-point competitions.

When the team gathers around the lane for its end-of-practice free-throw routine, Denver coach Brian Shaw often has Robinson shoot twice – once right-handed, once left-handed.

“He has good form, good rotation on the ball and everything when he shoots it with his left hand,” Shaw said.

Nursing a sore right wrist after taking a hard fall Monday at Oklahoma City, Robinson went through shooting drills left-handed Tuesday. He hopes to be ready for Thursday’s home game against his former team, the Chicago Bulls.

“I play through all injuries if I can,” Robinson said. “I love the game too much.”

Robinson said he developed his skills as a lefty at an early age. While walking home from the grocery store, his father made him carry the bags in his right hand while dribbling a basketball with his left.

If Shaw allowed him to shoot the ball left-handed him a game, Robinson said he would be just as confident in his ability to knock down shots.

Right now, Shaw would prefer that his players simplify their game by doing little things that proved costly against the Thunder. Denver missed 18 of 43 free throws and surrendered 19 offensive rebounds that led to 25 second-chance points.

“We watched a lot of film and talked as a group about winning plays, especially in the fourth quarter, that allowed them to win,” Shaw said. “Apart from that, we spent a lot of time shooting free throws just trying to get guys to understand that part of it is mental.”

Randy Foye, a career .851 free-throw shooter, is 13-for-20 through 10 games. J.J. Hickson, who entered the season at a modest .672 from the line, is 14-for-28. Wilson Chandler, .788 in his first six NBA seasons, is 7-for-11 in his first three games. As a team, Denver is shooting .710 from the line, which ranks 24th in the NBA.

“Some of our (historically) best free throw shooters are the ones that are struggling the most, surprisingly,” Shaw said. “We have to get the guys who are good free throw shooters to make theirs, and the guys who are typically not (as good) to continue to work and get better.”

Shaw said the team is starting to incorporate a sports psychologist who will be available if the players feel like discussing free-throw shooting and other mental aspects of the game.

“We’re trying to give them every resource that we can to help them any way we can.” Shaw said. “It’s a process that’s just beginning.”

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