Lugentz Dort Fan Club
Prior to the suspension of the NBA season, the Oklahoma City Thunder had solidified themselves as one of the most well balanced teams and a tough matchup every night. Among the reasons for this include a post prime peak all campaign from 34 year old Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous Alexander following up his strong rookie year by solidifying himself as one of the most promising young guards in the league, and solid veteran contributions from Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, and Dennis Shroeder.
The Thunder finished the season winners of 17 of their final 22 games, this coincided with the insertion of Lugentz “Lu” Dort into the rotation and the starting lineup on January 17th. During this stretch the undrafted free agent shot 35% from long distance on 2.7 attempts per game, played excellent defense and flashed the ability to get to the teeth of the defense.
Dort is the child of proud Haitian immigrants, who moved to Montreal, Quebec during his youth. His original passion was the game of soccer, where his 6″9 wingspan and physical dimensions would’ve made him a star on the pitch in another life. He split his high school years attending school in Canada and the United States before he was ranked a 5 star prospect by ESPN High School recruiting services and committed to Arizona State, making him the Sun Devils highest ranked commitment since James Harden.
Dort is a physically imposing guard, with a sculpted body that allows him to leverage his tools as a impactful deterrent on defense. Getting the assignment of guarding James Harden on an island was among the most cruel matchups any defender in the NBA could get stuck with, check out Dort’s ability to leverage his frame while being quick enough to slide with Beard off the dribble.
According to The Athletic’s Erik Horne, Dort was matched up with Harden for eight of the 2017 Most Valuable Player’s 39 minutes on the court. Dort kept Harden to 3-of-14 from the field for 10 points, whereas Harden shot 6-of-15 against everyone else during a close game.
The level of harassment Dort just exhibited to Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic on the clip above would’ve been enough to get him expelled on campus at BYU for vulgar behavior. The discourse around NBA circles always revolves around how finding 3&D archetype players is like finding hand sanitizer during a pandemic, and how they don’t grow on trees. NBA teams may have been scared away by Dort’s sluggish shooting percentages in college, but those numbers came within the context of him exploring his creation equity as a primary scoring option not with his role from day one in the league
Sam Presti has shown that he has a type when it comes to athletic wing defenders in the past (Thabo Sefalosha, Andre Roberson, Josh Huestis), nevertheless the most intriguing thing about Dort is that he has a chance to be a non zero on the offensive side of the floor. Dort actually possesses a really strong first step off the dribble that makes him a fascinating case study as a prospect. The combination of speed and power in a downhill slasher is a seductive trait for decision makers and a similar aspect of why Anthony Edwards has parlayed his tantalizing upside into a potential top 5 pick from a player who went undrafted last year.
Terrence Davis, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Naz Reid are among the notable undrafted players who have proven this season that the NBA Draft is still an inexact science and there will be productive NBA rotation players that slip through the cracks. The Thunder restart the season with a scrimmage against the Celtics on Friday July 24th. There’s still space on the Lugentz Dort bandwagon so pull up a chair, get acquainted and buy some stock while you can!
Video courtesy of: (Always Hoops,and LEF Oklahoma)