Reader Grade: B (44% of votes)
Whether the 2019-20 season returns or not, one thing is certain: the next time the NBA is played, Luguentz Dort is going to (finally) make a lot of money.
The 20-year-old rookie made history this season. In 2017, the NBA introduced the two-way contract.; typically players on two-way deals end up being solid role players at best. But not Dort. Dort took this contract and excelled, becoming the only two-way player in NBA history to start at least 15 games. He’s been one of Oklahoma City’s many bright spots this year:
Dort’s offensive game is likely the reason he went undrafted–but this shouldn’t have been the case. At Arizona State, he was an incredible defender, but his offense left some experts wanting more. But even with a “raw” offensive game, he still averaged 16.1 ppg on 40% shooting as a freshman.
And it’s translated well to the NBA. Dort ironed out his offense when he was picked up by Oklahoma City and is good for around 10 points most nights, even scoring 23 once. He does this with powerful drives to the rim, or presenting himself for wide open shots from three. If Dort can become more of a threat from outside with defenders in his face, then his offensive potential is very high.
Dort’s defensive impact is huge. He was destined to be a defensive force in this league based on his size and physicality alone. His 6’3, 216 lbs. build–of seemingly pure muscle–allows him to be a nuisance to any opposing player in the league.
The Thunder are used to wings who play great defense, but Dort can do it all. Whether its face guarding opponents all game long without losing any stamina, forcing players to take low percentage shots or using his big frame to break up screens, Dort is going to be a top defensive player very soon.
Daily Thunder Grade: A
In a strange way, Dort embodies the Oklahoma City Thunder season. He had a solid season last year in college that wasn’t enough, so he decided to shake things up and work even harder this year. Now he’s become one of the best underdog stories in the NBA. He’s a great fit in Billy Donovan’s system who should be a fan favorite for years to come.