There aren’t many important contracts that the Thunder have to deal with this summer. That isn’t necessarily a good thing though since they won’t have any significant contracts coming off of the books to be able to get more talent (or shooters, more importantly) on their roster. This is why we have to evaluate their editions of Luguentz Dort and Darius Bazley from draft night.
That is exactly why it’s been reported that OKC has made Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, and Dennis Schroder ‘very available’.
Oklahoma City has increased its efforts this afternoon to shed salary along with the No. 21 pick en route to dodging luxury tax, league sources say. Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Dennis Schroeder all very available at the moment.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 19, 2019
The only 3 active players coming off of the books are Raymond Felton, Markieff Morris, and probably Nerlens Noel (PO) which comes to a combined amount of roughly $5 mil. With the top of the Western Conference now being open for the taking, the Thunder have the right mindset to be willing to alter their roster to better their chances since looking to free agency won’t be their solution.
For the Thunder to make the Finals, they need more shooting and tough minded, perimeter defenders. That second one is especially the case if Roberson is indeed one player they elect to move. OKC drafted Darius Bazley, who is more of a project right now, but also grabbed Luguentz Dort after the draft as a two-way contract. Dort is the player we want to discuss today and we’ll get into why we think he could be a good fit for the team.
Dort has an archetype similar to that second need we had mentioned for the Thunder. He is certainly tough and is a dog on defense. Luguentz Dort was more than capable of locking down an opposing player with the ball. And because of his size, strength, and quick feet, it seems like his defensive capabilities will translate to the NBA quite easily.
One problem with Dort on that end is that he does seem to ball watch at times. He communicates well and is focused in when his player has the ball, but loses focus here and there. We think this is something that’s fixable for Dort in the long run, but might be an annoying habit for Thunder fans to start.
The one other negative that you could’ve inferred from our description before is that he is NOT a shooter the Thunder need. With Russell Westbrook at the helm, what they need are shooters and players that can work off of him. Dort, at times, is a little erratic and out of control which doesn’t bode well fit wise, but what he does so well is cutting. His off-ball movement is intelligent. He fills open lanes better than most other players coming from this draft.
That’s Dort’s main strength in the half-court and you know Russ will find him on those cuts to the basket. Luguentz is also very good in transition. The control aspect is still concerning as mentioned, but his finishing at the rim in the open court is solid. Westbrook likes to get up and run, and Dort will love to join him in that.
Luguentz Dort’s shooting woes and out of control play are indeed concerns, but this was an undrafted prospect keep in mind. His cutting and defense could be used right away for the Thunder.
We’ll see what kind of trades they decide to make, if any, but Luguentz Dort without a doubt has the talent and skills to be able to help in multiple facets of the game for the Thunder.