The Trail Blazers’ memorable postseason run might be over, but the the 2019 NBA Draft is right around the corner. Portland’s President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey currently has the No. 25 pick in the draft at his disposal and he will look to supplement the Blazers’ roster with a talented prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we look at Arizona State Sun Devils guard Luguentz Dort.
- Height: 6’4.25”
- Weight: 222
- Wingspan: 6’8.5”
- Shooting Hand: Right
- Position: G
- Age: 20
- Projected draft range: 22-30
- PTS: 16.1 | Per 40: 20.4
- AST: 2.3 | Per 40: 2.9
- REB: 4.3 | Per 40: 5.4
- STL: 1.5 | Per 40: 1.9
- FG%: 40.5
- 3P%: 30.7
- FT%: 70.0
Utilizing a pro-ready frame at the college level, Luguentz Dort announced his arrival early in his freshman season with the Sun Devils. The Canadian native is an expert at getting into the lane and maneuvering around all types of opponents. Armed with an explosive first step, Dort exploits slow-footed opponents to establish favorable angles to the rim. Against traditional guards, he uses his bulk to shield the ball. Once in the paint, Dort does a superb job of converting contact into free throws. Last season, he attempted the second-most free throws in the Pac-12.
Outside of his work in half-court sets, Dort is known for his relentless motor. In transition, Dort is dangerous on both ends. He consistently puts himself in position to stifle opposing breaks and he can finish highlight-worthy dunks when moving in the opposite direction. On defense, Dort’s favorable wingspan routinely invades passing lanes and makes things difficult for opposing guards.
For all his physical gifts, Dort’s draft stock is firmly attached to his lack of polish. He is a master of getting to the rim, but struggles to finish attempts once he gets there. Dort’s lack of touch is apparent at all three levels. Along with his struggles at the rim, the former Sun Devils star has an underdeveloped intermediate game and an unpredictable three-point shot. Those deficiencies can take Dort completely out of the game when he faces defenders that effectively stymie his downhill attack.
Dort is much closer to contributing on the defensive end, but the majority of his NBA upside is based on athleticism and hustle.
Buoyed by a featured role in coach Bobby Hurley’s offense, Dort joined elite company upon the completion of his first year in Tempe. He carried a 27.9 usage percentage through 34 games, earning him Pac-12 Rookie of the Year honors. DeAndre Ayton, Lonzo Ball and Jaylen Brown are the last three winners of that award and all three were selected in the first three picks of their respective drafts. Along with the ROY award, Dort claimed a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defense team.
There is no denying Dort’s physical makeup and effort, but his lack of refinement on offense will drop him down draft boards. If merged with the right timeline and training staff, Dort possesses all the tools to blossom into a contributor in the NBA. In the immediate future, his lack of floor spacing will keep him from playing a significant role on a contending team. That being said, his energetic style and rebounding ability could help shift momentum in short bursts.
Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. already give the Trail Blazers plenty of youth at the backcourt positions. It is possible that Portland views Simons as the answer to Seth Curry’s potential departure. If so, Dort could slot into a developmental role. Given the Blazers’ current arc, taking Dort over other seasoned prospects at No. 25 would be a bit of a shock. However, his long-term fit is enticing. A potential pairing of Simons and Dort in the backcourt would give Portland a tremendous amount of length and athleticism.
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