Undrafted Guard Luguentz Dort Joins Kevin Durant in OKC Thunder History Books After Masterclass Against Jazz

Published 04/14/2021, 8:21 AM EDT
Apr 13, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5) reacts after a basket in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports


Oklahoma City Thunder hasn’t been the same since Kevin Durant left. The team tried to compete for years after his departure, but they were never able to replicate the success they had with him.

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Since last season, they have gone in full rebuild mode, and have had a major clear out. 4/5 of their starters from last season and also a couple of other players have been traded away. This signaled the start of a tanking season, the first they’re having in over a decade. But despite their lack of wins, there is no lack of promise in the roster.

Last night, undrafted guard Luguentz Dort had a phenomenal game, joining Durant in franchise record books. After scoring 42 points against the Utah Jazz, Dort became only the second player after Durant to score 40+ points at the age of 21 or younger. He also became the youngest player in Thunder history to finish a game with 40 points and four steals.

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Jan 20, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) watches the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Lu Dort: Excelling on both ends

Following his freshman season at Arizona State, Dort declared after the NCAA tournament. After he went undrafted, the Thunder snapped him up on a two-way contract. He climbed the ranks with his impressive defensive performances and became a vital part of their rotation as a rookie last season.

The highlight of his season was during the playoffs against the Rockets. In Game 7, he scored 30 points, joining LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only players 21 years or younger to score 25+ points in a Game 7.

This season Dort has already become of the better defensive players in the league. His offensive ability has looked unpolished at times. But last night’s display proved that he has potential to be an exciting two-way player. He already has had shouts for an All-Defensive team nomination, and he’s now putting in the work on offense.

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Will OKC Thunder ever be able to replicate the success they had with Kevin Durant?

In 2012, the Thunder went all the way to the NBA Finals, led by Durant. They beat Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and Tim Duncan and the Spurs on their way to the Finals. However, their run was ended by LeBron and the Heat.

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The Thunder doesn’t have the roster to emulate that anytime soon. But with all the picks they have amassed from trades, fans will hope that they will draft wisely and bring home the city’s first ever NBA title.

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Aaron Mathew

1666 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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