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Blue Review: The Importance of the G League

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The Thunder have found another diamond in the rough by utilizing their G League team; what other undiscovered gems are hiding?

Sacramento Kings v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Pascal Siakam. Robert Covington. Hassan Whiteside. Danny Green. Jeremy Lamb. Luguentz Dort.

What do all these players have in common? They all spent the early part of their NBA careers in the G League. They are all now key players to their respective NBA teams.

The G League is the developmental home for the NBA where young players get sent down to sharpen their skills and play consistent minutes in the hope of one day getting called up to try to prove to the NBA they belong.

The reality is that most of the players on G League rosters will never play an NBA game but — when an organization does find a diamond in the rough — that becomes such a big win for the team as they get an NBA-quality player from a place most teams fail to fully value.

It seems like the Thunder lucked out with Luguentz Dort this season. Dort started off the season in the G League but made his NBA debut on December 7th, 2019 against the Timberwolves. Three months later, he has ingrained himself as the starting two-guard for the Western Conference sixth seed. Dort, per ESPN’s Royce Young, is well on his way with signing his first NBA contract once his 45 days are up on his two-way deal.

Dort went undrafted this past summer due to teams having concerns over his shooting, but those teams failed to put any importance 0n the other aspects of his game. The former five-star high school prospect signed with OKC and immediately became the Blue’s best player, averaging 19.5 PPG while playing stout defense.

Time will tell if Dort is legit or just the flavor of the month — like Deonte Burton was last season — as teams will soon start to adjust to him once enough tape is out there. Most people agree that the defense is legit, and Dort has the build to be a legit defensive player. The big question will be his shooting, to see if he can become a consistent outside shooter that teams will have to pay attention to and not just leave alone to defend the rest of the offense.

It’s super rare when teams hit on these G League players, but when they do, it’s like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk.

This is why I plan on going to the Blue game tonight, and will be reporting on them the rest of the Blue’s G League season, to see for myself if the Thunder might have anymore $20 bills lying around.

First up? Tonight vs the Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves G-League affiliate).