A big part of the OKC Thunder tremendous season was the play of rookie Luguentz Dort. TI dives into his season and contract grades.
The NBA has its fair share of heartwarming stories every single year. This year the OKC Thunder had one of their own and it came in the form of the undrafted Luguentz Dort. He was signed to a two-way deal at the start of the season.
Dort had question marks over his 3-point shooting out of college and as a result, was not taken in the 2019 draft. Sam Presti then saw an opportunity to sign the Canadian and opened the season with him in the OKC Thunder G-League affiliate, the OKC Blue.
In the first game for the Blue, Dort exploded for 35 points and from then on there was interest in his progress. Offensively he is in his element when he is driving to the hoop but is now, at the end of the season, far more comfortable from deep.
The OKC Thunder benefitted in a major way from the development of Dort
Despite keeping Devon Hall with the varsity squad for the start of the season, it is clear that coach Billy Donovan kept a very close eye on the progress of Dort. As the grind of the season wore on, Dort was eventually called up to the main squad.
It took him less than two weeks to force his way into the starting lineup and became a fixture. What Dort did better than anyone else on the team was defend the opponent’s wing and even some post players, keeping them quiet offensively.
When it became clear that Dort was a necessary part of the lineup, he only had contact with the team on game days. This meant that he did not waste any of his time as a two-way player on practice. He practiced team defense by watching tape.
Prior to the NBA restart in the bubble, the Canadian was signed to a full deal. This meant he could now practice and play with the team. He got the recognition that he deserved and the Thunder got a defensive dynamo for a low cost.