Darius Bazley on Lu Dort: ‘I can’t believe this guy went undrafted’

Logan Newman
·2 min read

There was a moment early during the game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday where Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley couldn’t help but marvel about the rising of wing Lu Dort.

In the first quarter, Dort hit a layup that gave him 18 points in about 8 1/2 minutes of play, just getting started on what ended up being a 42-point outing.

“After he had got like his 18th point, I was getting back on defense, and I was like, ‘I can’t believe this guy went undrafted,'” Bazley recalled on Friday.

He’s saying what Thunder fans have been thinking for more than a year.

Coming out of Arizona State University, Dort was seen by some as a first-round talent, but he did not hear is name called. After he slid all the way down, first into the second round and eventually out of the draft altogether, he signed a contract with the Thunder.

Dort and Bazley were rookies together on last year’s team and are pieces of the core this season.

“It’s been amazing just to watch him,” Bazley said. “We both came in together, so just to, from start to where he is now, just to see all the growth he’s made, all the achievements he has done, he breaks through every barrier. He gets over any hurdle. So it’s fun to be just alongside and witness that.”

Dort immediately shined on the defensive end after breaking into the Thunder’s rotation last season, but he did not provide much on the other end of the court. With a lineup that included Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams, the team was rich in offense.

Only Gilgeous-Alexander remains of that group, so Dort has been asked to do more. He has shown his chops as a driver and finisher, and is improving as a lead ball handler.

He followed up his 42-point outing with a 26-point game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, and in the nine games he has played in the second half of this season, he is averaging 18.4 points. His shooting percentages are ticking back up, as he has shot 42.8% from the field and 40.7% from 3 during that span.

With Gilgeous-Alexander out for at least two more weeks, Dort will continued to be relied upon on offense. He will use the remainder of the season to develop his playmaking before his second season is over.

This post originally appeared on OKCThunderWire. Follow us on Facebook!