On Instagram Live, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers gave praise to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort, whom Rivers faced in the first round of the 2020 playoffs.
Rivers raved about Dort’s defense, telling viewers, “Dort is crazy… That dude was sliding his feet on everybody. We couldn’t wait to get [Dort] off the court.”
Dort, a rookie out of Arizona State, was virtually unknown before the NBA’s restart in the bubble. But as Rivers said, Dort’s defensive ability was remarkable.
He took on the tough assignment of guarding James Harden throughout the 7-game series and did so very effectively. Harden led the league in scoring for the third-straight year this past season but was visibly bothered by Dort’s lockdown defense.
Most notably, Dort held the former MVP to just 4/15 shooting in game 7 of the series. Harden eventually got the last laugh, blocking a potential game-winner from Dort at the end of the game, but Dort’s surprise performance should put the league on notice.
As of now, the only thing holding him back is his offense. But, as evident by his 30-point outburst in that same game 7, Dort’s offense is only scratching the surface of its ceiling.
Dort will return to the Thunder for his second season in 2020-21.