The Thunder are hopping to strike gold on yet another two-way player.
After the huge success story of Lu Dort, second-round pick Aaron Wiggins hopes he can follow a similar path and earn a guaranteed NBA contract with Oklahoma City by bringing the juice off the bench.
Wiggins was a nice energy boost during Summer League action, and he took advantage of his limited minutes in OKC’s first preseason game.
Not getting his number called until the fourth quarter, Wiggins made an instant impact adding with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Wiggins was a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range, and he also added a steal and an assist in his 7:19 of action.
While he continues to develop his game past the mid-range exploits which served him so well at Maryland, Wiggins has a great role model in Dort to learn from every day.
Proving to be more than just a defender, Dort made steady improvements last year on the offensive end of the floor. In the absence of point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort improve his 3-point shooting percentage by almost five percentage points last year.
The Canadian’s improved shooting stroke continued to be on full display in the preseason opener against Charlotte. Dort finished the night with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, powered by Dort shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
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Dort started from shakier standing than Wiggins, coming to the Thunder as an undrafted free agent before working his way into a piece to help build around for the future.
The defensive star said he’s been vocal with Wiggins about the opportunity he has on his two-way deal in Oklahoma City.
“I just told him to be patient,” Dort said. “It’s not going to come right away, it’s going to take some time.
“But he’s going to have the opportunity and then when he gets the opportunity, just to show it and show that he can play.”
Over that time, Wiggins can cement himself with the Thunder by continuing to work hard every day and bring the same energy off the bench. Despite his improved standing with the team, Dort’s approach has remained the same, and he continues to work as hard as ever.
“The first game has pretty much been the same,” Dort said. “For me it’s always playing hard. Bringing intensity on both ends of the floor.”
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