Lu Dort is the difference in a lot of OKC Thunder wins

Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder currently sit a game below .500, one win away from matching their win total from a season ago. They are currently just a game out of the sixth seed to avoid the play-in tournament altogether and are tied for a play-in spot at the moment. While we rack our brains to figure out how the OKC Thunder are pulling off these wins, it is easy to overlook the difference Lu Dort makes.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is playing at an MVP level, reaching 30 points, five assists, and five rebounds per game while shooting 51 percent from the floor, 35 percent from three, and 90 percent at the line to go along with a block and nearly two steals per game.

Since December, Josh Giddey is averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, and six assists a night with over half a block and half a steal per game. All while shooting 51 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the three-point line and knocking down free throws at a 91 percent clip.

The two have found out how to gel together, which makes sense given they finally have been given time to play together after both of the guards suffered injuries last season. it is easy to credit the duo, along with Mark Daigneault, for the recent success. They have also gotten heavy contributions from Kenrich Williams, Isaiah Joe is a sharpshooter, and Aaron Wiggins is still undefeated in the starting lineup.

Lu Dort makes a key difference for the Oklahoma City Thunder when he shoots the ball well

While all of the aforementioned reasons deserve a ton of credit for the surprising season, it is easy to lose sight of what Lu Dort does night in and night out.

Each game, Dort is tasked with defending the top scorer on the opposing team and shutting down the likes of Jamal Murray when they are in a position late in the game to win. While the Arizona State product is not perfect, still lacking rim finishing, and a few questionable decisions with the ball in his hands, when he is on from beyond the arc, that is the key to success for the OKC Thunder.

When Lu Dort makes over 50 percent of his three-point shots on a given night, the Oklahoma City Thunder boast an 8-5 record, with two of those losses suffered by a combined seven points.

Dort leads the league in offensive fouls drawn with 63 through 46 games, the NBA record for that stat is 99 when Anderson Varejao pulled that off in the 2006-07 season. The 23-year-old Canadian is also tied for third in the NBA in loose ball recovery with 43.

From setting the tempo, hitting threes, and locking down stars, to creating possessions, Dort does it all as the swiss army knife for OKC.

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