Over the past two seasons, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Lu Dort has established himself as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. As a team, the Thunder are clearly in a rebuild and haven't won many games of late. In fact, they lost 26 of their final 29 games last season.
With that in mind, teams like OKC need to bring a toughness and edge every night if they're going to be competitive. Last season, that was often brought by Dort, who gave his full effort on both ends of the floor, but especially on defense.
Dort's presence on defense helped the Thunder establish an identity last season. To Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault, it also allowed them to stick their chest out.
“Lu [Dort] is someone who helps us stick our chest out as a team," said Daigneault at Thunder media day.
Dort is a player who will be asked to become even more of a leader this season, both on the floor and in the locker room. As the Thunder's best defender, he'll need to ensure the entire team is locked in on that end of the floor and communicating appropriately to get stops.
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It's one thing to be a great individual defender, but it's another to inspire the entire roster to thrive on defense.
If he's able to yet again be one of the better perimeter defenders in the league this season, Oklahoma City will once again be able to come into games with that edge and physical mentality. On that end of the floor, it all starts with Dort.
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