OKC Thunder: 3 Players Who Need to Take a Leap this Season

Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Ousmane Dieng #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Oct 17, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles while defended by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) during the first half at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports /

Lu Dort

Lu Dort is the OKC Thunder’s best defender and one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA. Dort had a solid statistical season from a shooting standpoint but averaged the fewest points since his rookie season.

He went from the second option in his third year to the fourth option behind Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey, and Jalen Williams. Dort averaged 13 points, four rebounds, and two assists while shooting 39 percent from the floor, 33 percent from three, and 77 percent from the free throw line.

With Chet Holmgren able to play this season after missing all last year with a foot injury, Dort becomes the fifth option as his role and usage continue to shrink. 33 percent from three in today’s NBA is not very good, and Dort has hovered around that percentage for the last three seasons.

One sign of promise is he shot 41 percent on corner threes last season, and the hope is he takes more corner threes than above-the-break threes where he has struggled.

For the OKC Thunder to move out of the play-in and into the top-six, Dort will have to continue to play great on-ball defense, and he will have to shoot better from three. He needs to improve by three or four percentage points and have a better shot selection.

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