Over the last week, the Thunder have held player availability sessions with the media. Steven Adams and Billy Donovan have both answered questions from the Thunder media members. Luguentz Dort held his own press conference yesterday.
Dort has recently signed a contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder which will see him remain a member of the team for the foreseeable future. Luguentz Dort commented on his new contract, Andre Roberson and the team’s chemistry. It was an interesting presser and Dort was forthright with his answers.
Lu Dort says his family has always supported him. Draft night was tough for them since he went undrafted. His mom’s birthday was the day he signed his NBA contract.— Brandon Rahbar (@BrandonRahbar) July 6, 2020
Luguentz Dort briefly touched on his new contract during the press conference. Dort seemed excited about his future in the league as a Thunder player. Lu Dort will be an NBA player going forward. It is an impressive rise for a player who started the season in the G-League.
Dort mentioned that the signing date has a special kind of symbolism. June 24th is his mother’s birthday. Dort has previously spoken about his family’s support of him during his basketball career. I think that it is apt that Dort became able to support his family on his mother’s birthday.
Lu Dort on the hiatus being beneficial: "When I wasn't practicing, I was watching a lot of film with the coaches. There's no advantages to not playing, but as we get back together, we will get the chemistry."— Brady Trantham (@BradyDoesSports) July 6, 2020
Says he feels the offense will come quicker once they get to Orlando.
Chemistry has been a key talking point during these press conferences over the last week or so. Steven Adams was confident that the Thunder would establish chemistry quickly and continue with the team’s winning ways. Billy Donovan was more cautious with his remarks; Coach Donovan felt that the chemistry would come with time.
Luguentz Dort was asked about chemistry and he believed the Thunder would find that rhythm again once the squad is together again. It is a measured view that makes a lot of sense. OKC are not short on vocal leaders who will get the team playing winning basketball again. Chris Paul and Steve Adams are both communicators who will get teammates in their spots on offense.
Dort’s comments on practice were also very interesting. Luguentz Dort did not really practice with the Thunder squad when he was on the two-way contract. The rules around two-way contracts mandate that a player can only spend 45 Days with the parent club. These days were counted when the G-League player attended practice or were included in the game day squad.
The Thunder worked carefully to manage the days on Dort’s contract. Oklahoma City wanted Luguentz Dort to be available for as many games as possible. This often meant that Dort did not partake in team practices; Dort spent a lot of time in film sessions with assistant coaches. Lu Dort practiced with the Blue.
The DisneyWorld training camp will be the first time that Dort will practice with the Thunder with any sense of regularity. Dort working with the Thunder more closely will be highly beneficial going into the playoffs. The coaching staff will have more time to address Dort’s weaknesses.
The main thing Lu Dort has been working on is knocking down open shots and spacing the floor— Andrew Schlecht (@AndrewKSchlecht) July 6, 2020
Luguentz Dort is a very good defender but his shot is pretty poor at the moment. The mechanics are not great and Dort’s efficiency shooting the ball is low. Floor spacing has to be a focus for Dort; Lu needs to fix this issue within his game.
The Thunder have struggled to find perimeter shooting on the wings for years. Providing that Dort can develop into a serviceable shooter from distance, it will solidify his spot in the rotation. Lu Dort being able to shoot will put him ahead of Terrance Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo; two players who are not effective from outside.
There is a real chance for Dort to succeed and establish himself as a starter in the league if his shooting numbers trend upwards. Dort being able to shoot 35% on 3-point shots will change how defenses guard him and it will make him a valuable contributor on offense. This has to be the main focus of the Thunder staff.
Luguentz Dort today on Andre Roberson:— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) July 6, 2020
"He told me a lot of advice defensively on being able to go out and do what I do on a high level. We kind of worked a little bit together since we’ve got back. He’s ready. Ready to go. He’s good.”
Andre Roberson has not played a professional game of basketball in two years. However, Roberson has been around the team and Dort’s comments revealed that Roberson has been working with Dort on his defense.
Andre Roberson is one of the best defensive players that I have seen play basketball for the Thunder. His ability on defense came from his intelligence and reading of the game. Roberson’s anticipation of offense was very good. Roberson’s mind was a key factor in Andre being one of the premier wing stoppers in the league.
Roberson will be a valuable tool for Dort to tap into. Roberson’s experience of guarding the best players in the league and taking on that challenge on a nightly basis means that Andre has a wealth of knowledge. Dort needs to pick Andre’s brains and learn from him. Dort will learn a lot from those experiences and become a better defensive player because of this knowledge.