The path toward NBA stardom is never a straight line.
In fact, the journey is reminiscent of a stock chart, fuelled by learning experiences, disappointments and growth opportunities along the way.
For Canadian guard Luguentz Dort, he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Earned, not given, is how they are raised in the tough streets of Montreal.
Passed on by 30 NBA teams at the 2019 NBA Draft, Dort is making a mockery of NBA scouting departments by applying the same principles that got the 6-foot-3 guard to where he is today.
Grit, hard-work and self-belief.
Highly-praised for his defensive prowess and doubted for his shooting stroke, the rugged 220-pound Montreal native unleashed a career-high 30-point game in a tough 104-102 Game 7 loss to the Houston Rockets. Dort connected on 10-of-21 field goals and knocked down 6-of-12 three-pointers, adding four rebounds and a blocked shot.
Dort’s surprising and unexpected point total is the most ever for an undrafted rookie in a playoff game since the draft was introduced in 1947. Furthermore, he now holds the record for most points by a Canadian in a game seven — surpassing newly minted Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash’s record of 29 points, 11 assists on May 22, 2006, against the Los Angeles Clippers.
If that wasn’t enough, he also goes into the Oklahoma City Thunder playoff record books for most points, field goals and three-pointers made by a rookie.
James Harden Praises Luguentz Dort
Matching up against James Harden, arguably one the best scorers in NBA history, Dort rose to the occasion and not only earned the nickname “The Harden Stopper,” but also garnered the respect of the three-time NBA scoring champ by limiting Harden to series-low 17 points in the most crucial game of the season for the OKC Thunder.
“He just plays his butt off. He doesn’t care about anything but playing hard, and as a young guy coming into this league that’s all you can ask for. Learning how to play and learning defensive schemes and offensive schemes and the total package of being a NBA player is going to come, but he has the right mindset of just playing hard and not caring about what anybody thinks and he’s gonna have a great career,” praised Harden during his post-game interview.
Respect Nous, Respect Me. Expect Me. I’m Coming.