Billy Donovan Won't Commit to Starting Lu Dort
Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan is "not opposed" to rookie Luguentz Dort being in the starting lineup, but he won't commit to that being the case when the season restarts on August 1st. Saturday, Donovan said, "When Lu did end up starting for us, there was different things we were dealing with."
"Terrance [Ferguson] was for a little bit; obviously Andre [Roberson] was out we had a lot of different things that were going on." .."At a certain point, we were a little bit thin in the backcourt."..."And Lu being able to come in and help like he did was a big big help for our team, especially with the way he performed and played."
Dort has played in 29 games for the Thunder, starting in 21. Oklahoma City is 16-5 when he is in the starting lineup.
Donovan says, "I'm not opposed to starting him that was good for our team."... "I thought that was a good lineup for our team." ..."We've gotta look a playing more people because we don't know what the future's gonna hold in terms of how everybody handles being inside the bubble."
"I think these three weeks are important to keep everybody engaged."..."Lu's done a really good job for me to sit here and say he's starting when we get back to playing I wouldn't say that. ..."I'm really trying to be open-minded to let these guys play and compete to find out where they're all at and how they're playing with one another."
To get the most out of his players in training camp, Donovan has to let them feel they are fighting for something. Not that players are dumb, but if Ferguson or Roberson gets the sense they won't be contributing over the next few weeks, it might be easier for them to check out.
Our best guess, when the season gets back underway, Dort will be one of the first five players on the floor. While inconsistent on offense, he's still a more reliable option than Ferguson or Roberson and he is proving he can guard at an NBA level.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.