Is Luguentz Dort’s FIBA Performance Cause for Concern for OKC Thunder?

Is Luguentz Dort's FIBA Performance Cause for Concern for OKC Thunder?

The defensive linchpin of the Thunder will continue to play a pivotal role next season, but his lackluster showing at the FIBA World Cup raises some red flags. While Canada’s performance in the tournament has been impressive, Luguentz Dort’s FIBA performance has faced a challenging stretch.

Dort entered the World Cup with an opportunity to elevate his game in high-stakes, competitive matchups. While his defensive prowess remains consistent, his offensive performance has been disappointing.

Although Dort has never been known for his offensive prowess, he has occasionally demonstrated the potential to become a reliable contributor. However, during his time with Team Canada, his already inconsistent offensive skills have not translated effectively.

Luguentz Dort’s FIBA World Cup Performance

In his four games, Dort has primarily relied on long-range shooting, with over half of his shot attempts coming from beyond the arc. While the quantity of attempts is noteworthy, the efficiency has been lacking, with only 7 successful shots out of 21 from that range.

While making just one-third of his 3-point attempts isn’t ideal, Dort’s performance is gradually improving. After a dismal 1-of-7 start from deep in the initial group stage game against France, Dort has managed to convert nearly 43% of his 3-point attempts. To put this in context, he recorded a career-low 29.7% from beyond the arc during his last season with the Thunder.

It’s worth noting that the FIBA 3-point line is approximately 19 inches closer than the NBA’s, so success in the World Cup may not directly translate. However, there hasn’t been a significant change in the free-throw line’s distance.

Unfortunately, Dort has also struggled with free throws, hitting only 57% of his attempts. While his number of free throw attempts in the World Cup is relatively low, failing to make half of them is a concerning sign.

With underwhelming statistics in multiple areas, Dort’s difficulties extend beyond just free throws and 3-pointers. In the World Cup, he has a meager 45.5% success rate on 2-point shots. He has made only five baskets from inside the arc, a number that matches his turnover count in these games.

It’s possible that Dort’s increased confidence in his 3-point shooting due to the shorter line has led to a reduced inclination to drive to the basket. If he continues to rely on long-range shots for more than half of his attempts, it could pose problems for the Thunder.

While Dort isn’t known for his finishing ability, focusing on attacking the basket could lead to higher-quality possessions for the Thunder’s offense. Ultimately, the Thunder will need Dort to prioritize making sound decisions.

If he can improve his shot selection and allow the offense to flow naturally, Luguentz Dort’s FIBA struggles in competition might not be a major concern. However, resolving these issues is unlikely to happen overnight, so it may take some time for Dort to make the necessary adjustments.


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