Oklahoma City Thunder fans can rest easy as their cult hero, first-year player Luguentz Dort (we like to call him Lu), has been upgraded from his two-way contract and signed to a multi-year deal with the Thunder. ESPN’s Marc Stein and Royce Young first reported the news.
As the Thunder gear up for the many trials that await them in the NBA’s Orlando bubble, they will bring along the fan-favorite defensive stalwart. Lu Dort captured the fan base by storm with his effort and capabilities on the defensive end. Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, and more have all fallen victim to Dort Island (ok, not an actual thing, but it’s still cool). Surprisingly, Dort’s impact on the other end of the court may prove to be even more valuable.
Before Lu Dort began starting games on the wing for OKC on January 20th, the team was mediocre at best on the offensive end. They ranked 18th in the league in offensive rating at 109.4. Shockingly, when Dort entered the starting lineup by replacing Terrance Ferguson, the Thunder offense improved rather dramatically. With Dort in the starting lineup, the Thunder have an offensive rating of 114. That is good for THIRD in the entire league.
What made the offense take the jump it did? Well, if you have watched the Thunder, you have surely seen Ferguson’s indecisiveness get the best of him. Passing out of open looks, hesitating, allowing the defender to adjust, and hardly ever taking a dribble advancing in the direction of the basket are all examples.
Dort has been the complete opposite. He shows confidence (misplaced at times) and aggressiveness we just haven’t seen out of the young Ferg. Let’s consider their shot attempts, for example.
In the 50 games that Ferguson has played, he has attempted 199 shots. In 29 games played, Dort has attempted 157. So, 21 more games, but only 42 more attempts. Don’t buy it? Let’s take a look at the stripe.
Ferg has attempted 19 free throws, and Dort has attempted 36. Again, 21 fewer games than Ferg, but 17 more attempts. Dort isn’t afraid to drive to the basket and attack close-outs and take an open jump shot, both of which help the offense.
Dort may have won the hearts of fans from playing defense, but he may take his team to new heights by his contributions on offense too.
Either way, his contract is well deserved. This guy right here is excited to cover him on my team for years to come!
Welcome aboard officially Lu!