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OKC’s Lu Dort Has Flipped into an Elite 3-Point Shooter

Although he started off his career as a below average 3-point shooter, Dort has transformed into a reliable weapon on the Thunder.
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Just a year ago, the idea that Luguentz Dort would be one of the NBA’s most efficient 3-point shooters would be considered a little absurd.

Well, sometimes it's best to expect the unexpected.

Since the All-Star break, the 24-year-old holds the highest shooting percentage from behind the arc of any player at a whopping 49.3. During this stretch of play, you could nearly flip a coin and have a 50/50 chance of him hitting the shot. 

On the entire season, Dort holds an equally impressive percentage of 41.3 on five attempts per game, good for a top 25 clip in the league. His efficiency has opened the floor further for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, becoming a reliable shot-maker from the outside 

The Oklahoma City Thunder guard hasn’t always been a go-to 3-pointer shooter, however. 

Upon his arrival to Oklahoma City in 2019, Dort entered as solely a defensive player, shooting below 30% from deep and having little offensive production. His next few seasons saw production grow to roughly 15 points per game numbers, but the efficiency was never quite there for him to be a reliable shooter.

Now in his fifth season in the league, Dort has officially reached the status of a three-and-D player. He always had the defense — and still holds the reputation as one of the toughest players to score against — but the 3-point shooting has expanded his game enough to be one of the most important pieces on a championship contending Thunder team.

Slotted in at the small forward position, Dort has been crucial to Oklahoma City’s massive success this year, even if his numbers have dipped. He dropped from 13.7 points per game to 10.9, but with the efficiency boost, he’s a much more effective player.

It’s natural for his scoring production to take a hit with the addition of Chet Holmgren and the sophomore boom of Jalen Williams, but as long as Dort can knockdown shots from behind the arc at an above average rate and keep his opponents struggling to score, his place on the team will be cemented. 

Some players who have entered the league as terrible shooters have stayed that way throughout their careers, failing to ever make the necessary improvements to become better players. Dort has avoided that situation in stride, and the Thunder are all the better for it.

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