The OKC Thunder signed Lu Dort as an undrafted free agent from the 2019 NBA Draft, and his impact has been felt.
What a rookie season Lu Dort dealt with. Starting on a two-way deal, not making his NBA debut until December 6th against Minnesota, where he earned seven minutes. He earned 19, 29, 12, and 12 minutes before another DNP stretch. Dort became a mainstay in the NBA in the middle of January.
As a rookie, Dort could not practice with the NBA squad due to the rules of the two-way contract at that time. He had to learn on the fly and from a screen (a common practice nowadays in the real world) and quickly carved out a role that led him to be one of the team’s most impactful defenders. While riding high and helping push the Thunder to a showdown for the 4th seed against Utah, the NBA (and world!) shut down.
You know the rest; from there, the bubble happened where Lu Dort frustrated James Harden and dropped 30 points in game seven against the Houston Rockets and forever etched his name in the hearts of Thunder fans. That defensive prowess only grew to the point Damian Lillard and other NBA stars tab him as the best defender in the league.
It also earned the former undrafted guard a five-year deal worth 82.5 million dollars. The 24-year-old has only started the game on the bench once since his rookie year and is credited for bringing the intensity for the Thunder night in and night out.
It is undeniable the impact of Lu Dort on the OKC Thunder, and for a team without a robust free agent list, Dort tops it.