Left Handed Vs Right Handed Which is Better In Basketball? Surprising Answer!


There are very few left-handed shooters in the NBA in fact only 12 percent of the population is left-handed and they all seem to be able to shoot the basketball very well. Or do they?

But are left-handed shooters better than right-handed in basketball? There are more right handed shooter in the game of basketball than left handed ones, there is no advantage big enough to encourage a player to change from being a right handed shooter to a left handed one. The focus should be on working hard and practicing fundamental skills to be the best player you can be, whether you shoot left or right does not matter.

Are there any advantages to being a left-handed shooter versus a right-handed one? Are all left-handed players good at shooting, Right now I shoot right handed should I change my shot so I shoot left? Who are the best left handed players in the NBA? All will be answered in the following article.

Right Handed Shooters Vs. Left Handed 

The world’s population is made up of 12 percent lefties, while in the NBA it is a lesser percentage than that, with 42 players in the league that are left-handed out of 492 in the entire NBA, we’re looking at 8 and a half percent of left handed shooters.

Historically if we take a look at the top ten NBA scorers of all time they were all right-handed, but that doesn’t mean that left-handed shooters suck. This is further from the truth.

Artis Gilmore, is the first in all-time left-handed shooters in Scoring. If you don’t know who he is, the 7 foot 2 center played 18 years in the NBA starting from 1971 averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds a game. Gilmore sits at 27 all-time in scoring with 24,941. This hall of fame player won an ABA championship was an MVP of the playoffs and season. 

Believe it or not, James Harden is second in lefties scoring all-time and is 41st all-time in scoring with 21,109 points and he is still playing today in his prime. At the rate that James Harden is going, he will break the 30,000 point mark making him the first lefty in the top 10 in scoring, actually, he would be top 8.

Another player not to mention who some say is the greatest player of all time was Bill Russell who was left-handed and also won 11 championship rings in the late fifties and sixties. Was Bill a good shooter? Not really he was six-feet ten inches tall who averaged 15 points and 22 rebounds, and played a round the basket, didnt have an outside shot really, but was an average post scorer. Although Russell wasn’t really known for his shooting, but I am sure he was awkward to guard as there were not a whole lot of left-handed players around back then, especially at the center position.

There are only 8 left-handed players who are in the NBA’s top 100 career leaders in Points. While the last lefty to win an MVP was David Robinson in 1995, that’s over 25 years ago. David Robinson won a 2 championships with the San Antonio Spurs.

Now this tells us absolutely nothing about what hand shoots better does it? There just hasn’t been enough data to understand where left-handed players stand among the right, there are also 90 percent more of them. James Harden does make a good case some even saying he’s is the greatest scorer of all time. While there are also a lot of big man that are left handed in the league to day that have great field goal percentages due to easy dunks and layups around the basket. Think D’Andre Jordan of the Brooklyn Nets. That would inflate the stat to make it seem that all lefties shoot well if we combined the statistics of players and compared the to right handed shooters. Again just not enough data.

Is there any advantage to shooting left-handed?

Some studies suggest that left-handed people have slightly better hand-eye coordination, But nothing worth trying to switch hands for, this has more to do with what hand you favor all your life such as the hand you write with.

Other than that there really isn’t much advantage. Lefties use the right side of their brain while being right-handed people use their left side of the brain more. A left-handed person’s right side of the brain is responsible more for art, music, creativity, and perception. Maybe this is why they all have great form, they pick up the shooting mechanics quickly from my experience of coaching young talent. This gives them the advantage early on, simply good form can lead to more made baskets.

Being left-handed can have its disadvantages, having to handshake after a game with the right hand may feel awkward at first but I am sure you get use to it. For you right handed folks have you ever shook someone’s hand with your left? Yeah, feels weird doesn’t it.

Another disadvantage is being guarded, as a right-hand player when guarding another right-hand player, when I contest the shot, I have to think about using my left hand to do so to get maximum reach on trying to disrupt the shot taken from the player I am guarding. If I use my right-hand and reach over I don’t get as much extension and lose a couple of inches which gives the player more room and a better view of the basket.

With a left-handed shooter, all I have to do when they shoot is stick my dominant hand straight up and I will be able to disrupt the shot evenly if I am quick enough, no need to reach over and I get full extension.

One advantage that may be over or under-looked is left-handed players when they grow up playing basketball and learning the game they more likely develop both hands and are able to use them quicker than a right-handed player. This is because many drills and skills are run on the right side of the court. Giving them more practice with their weak hand. Everyone loves the right side of the court.

Do all left-hand shooters shoot the same?

It appears that most left-handed shooters do shoot the same. Their form of these basketball lefties looks the same. They have the correct 45-degree angle in their elbow while keeping the shooting arm in line with their body. Ok they obviously don’t all shoot perfectly but it seems that way doesn’t it, there is just so few of them. 

But for some reason left handed shooters have such pretty form, compared to right handed shooter. I am jealous of their form, and they just seem to hit more shots. But here’s why…having the correct shooting form alone will have you making more shots, simply put.

Left or Right what’s better?

If you did a survey of 100 people and asked them would you rather shoot left-handed in basketball or right-handed? I bet over 50 percent would say left-handed. Well for one it’s different and number two players don’t recognize left handed shooters on the court until they get scored on. And 3 as a fan left-handed shooters get recognized more while playing. I have not seen many terrible left-handed shooters with poor form, but they are out there.

Left-handers do have an edge in non-professional sports, I say non-professional because there are scouting reports on players and coaches while players know who shoots left so they are not thrown off come time to guard the player

But at the lower levels such as high school or even college, many players love to drive right, when a player is expecting a player to go right but they go left it can be an easy basket. Players may not even realize that a player shoots left until the second half. Most right-handed players think that being left-handed is an advantage and it is if you are not prepared on defense for a lefty. Some players may forget that a player is left-handed and guard him a certain way and fail to defend him because he’s dominant on his left.

Defending a left-hander doesn’t change the way you should play defense, it should be the exact same thing you would do with a right-handed player. Right-handed players more often going right on the layup while a lefty goes left on a layup simple. It’s not over-complicated, you use your fundamental skills on defense to guard him the way you know how.

The most important factor is whether that player is left or right you want to take note which we he likes to drive most. I like to drive left and shoot left and I am righty, that’s not to say I wont drive right I just like the left side everyone is different.

So which is better?

Well, the final answer to right-handed versus left is this…..

Which ever hand you are it’s the player that practices the hardest and works the hardest consistently day after day has the advantage. It does not matter if they are left or right. Your shooting percentage will tell you this.

James Harden Laying up the basketball into the hoop.

All Lefty Team 2020

James Harden (Houston Rockets)

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)

Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)

DeAndre Jordan (Brooklyn Nets)

Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers

Not a bad team their combined shooting percentage for the 2019/20 season would be 53.2% from the Field and from the 3 point line 33%. it is important to note that for field goal percentage Simmons, Sabonis and Jordan play around the basket which inflates that number. While from the three-point line Harden and Ingles shoot a lot of threes while Sabonis shoot one a game that season Jordan none and Simmons barely any worth reporting.

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