OKC Thunder’s Lu Dort sets itself up for the honor of the NBA all-defense team

In his second NBA season, Lu Dort is already starting to make even more of a name for himself. Taking on more of a role for the Thunder remake, he is positioning himself to earn a spot on the NBA All – Defensive Team this season.

After going unconditional in the 2019 NBA Draft, Dort became a Thunder lock defender as a rookie and ended up being a starter even while on a two-way contract. Prior to playing in the NBA 2020 Playoffs, he was changed to a full-time contract and took the role of defending James Harden in Oklahoma City’s only playoff series.

He did an admirable job defending Harden, who noticed Dort in that seven-game series. After the series ended, Harden opened up about what makes Dort so particularly defensive.

“He worked his push. Even from college when I went back to Arizona State, he would work on his button and it shows. He played really well tonight … he doesn’t worry about anything but playing hard. As a young lad coming into this league that is all you can ask for. Learn how to play and how to learn offensive and offensive schemes and the whole package of being an NBA player. But he has the right mindset of just playing hard and just playing balls to the wall and not caring about what one thinks. He has a good career. ”

Just two games into the 2020-21 NBA season, Dort is making even more noise around the league with his ability to shut down some of the biggest stars in the league. On Monday night, he went for 26 points against Utah Jazz while also holding Donovan Mitchell to shoot 8-23 and 2-10 from three. After the game, Mitchell made sure to give Dort credit for his defensive effort.

“First of all, believe him, man. He’s like hell of a defender. ”

Mitchell would go on to say that it was like hitting a brick wall every time he tried to get physical with Dort.

It’s not just the players that Dort guards every night who notice how special he is on that end of the floor. His teammates have taken advantage in practice and seen what he does every day.

Former team player George Hill praised Dort after his performance against Utah, calling him one of the best in the NBA defensively.

“He’s going to be one of the best defenders in this league.”

In addition, postgame Al Horford talked about how Dort is in a class of his own.

“I haven’t seen many lads capable of defense at that level.”

Horford would go on to compare Dort with his former Boston player Marcus Smart. He commented on how those two men have the ability to get into the ball and be disciplined. Horford said people don’t really understand how smart defenders are at this stage. In his eyes, Dort and Smart are similar players, which is highly recommended for Thunder guards.

“There are definitely a lot of similarities with those two.”

Dort has taken a step forward as a leader on this Thunder team, particularly defensively. He was recently asked if he feels the need to be a mentor to some of the latest players on Oklahoma City’s schedule. He looked back at his direction last season from lads like Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder and wants to pay that forward.

“Yeah, the fact that I had good vets last season and I learned a lot from them. I come to the game the same way … it’s not too hard, it’s really just about getting ready and doing it at a high level every night. That’s the stuff I learned last season and I’m trying to tell the new boys this year to do the same. ”

While Dort is clearly one of the best in the NBA when it comes to fringe defenders, he wants to make sure his entire team is able to outperform that end of the game. floor and talked about what he can do to make that happen.

“Communicate truthfully – be loud and be vocal. There won’t be fans, it’s just going to be for us. So be loud, talk, and help each other. ”

Daigneault’s Thunder Head Coach explained this, talking about how Dort is an excellent leader for this young team, despite his unparalleled leadership style.

“Everyone has their own style of leadership and Lu is unpretentious. I think it’s important that we sometimes separate leadership from communication. Lu is not the most energetic man, but Lu is an incredible leader when it comes to readiness, professionalism, competitiveness, being ready to play every night and that consistency. The mental anguish it takes to prepare to play night after night in the NBA. So I don’t think that’s the person who needs to talk often, and that’s okay because that’s not the only way to lead … someone like Lu can Dort to guide through what he did … Lu finds himself doing the right thing a bit and puts him in a position where he has gained a lot of respect among his teammates. ”

Dort has only played in 38 regular season games in his NBA career, but he is already standing out. There is no question if he can continue to make it as difficult as he can to counter the best marks of teams, he will have a vision of making the NBA All-Defensive Team in the season 2020-21. Lu Dort is going on to become one of the best defenders in the league.