Over a decade, a highly-touted 6-foot-4 guard came to Arizona State to lead the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament. That player’s name is James Harden, the 6-time All-Star for the Houston Rockets. Fast forward to 2019, and a new Sun Devils star is looking to follow in his footsteps.
Luguentz Dort arrived in Tempe by way of Mono, a suburb of Toronto. The former 4-star also stands 6-foot-4, and helped muscle Arizona State to a No. 11 seed and a First Four berth for the 2nd-straight season.
That’s not to say Dort will also become an NBA MVP in the future, though his performance this year does have him on several draft boards. He averages 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He’s not the most efficient shooter, canning just 31 percent of his 3-pointers.
He did his best work in the non-conference, posting 33 points in a win over fellow tournament team Utah State at the Las Vegas Invitational.
By leading the Sun Devils to just the right side of the bubble, he’s earning first-round looks. Let’s take a look at these prognostications:
Luguentz Dort NBA Draft Projections & Mock Draft
Jeremy Woo of SI.com lists him as the No. 22 overall pick to the Boston Celtics on his most recent mock draft. Despite the high ranking, he says that Dort has just a “passable skill set.”
With the long-term future of Boston’s backcourt somewhat uncertain, adding Dort to the mix would provide some long-stability. He can be dynamic defensively and should be more effective when asked to do less as a scorer. His shooting struggles and overall skill level needs to improve, but people are comfortable with him as a floor-based pick—there aren’t many players with his heavier body type who are as athletic as he is. Dort is sort of a half-empty/half-full player, depending on what you value, but he has the right type of profile to succeed as a role player.
Looking at Dort’s shooting numbers, it seems clear that he’s a prospect that has yet to combine his elite frame with the handles and shot necessary to hit the ground running on a professional team.
Another optimistic take is Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill, who sends Dort to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 23 selection.
Luguentz Dort NBA Draft Big Board Rankings
Aran Smith’s NBA Draft Net barely sees the Sun Devils guard going in the draft at all, pegging him as the No. 58 overall prospect on his top-100 list.
ESPN has him as the No. 7 shooting guard and No. 28 player on its draft board. So let’s dive into this disparity.
Dort is the type of player that you trot off the bus first. He’s an absolute load and possesses well-developed physique for a player his age. He also has the quick-twitch explosiveness to rattle rims at the next level.
What he lacks is basic handles, such as finishing with his left hand. These are things that professionals will feast on until he adapts. He also isn’t great at using his athleticism to create his own shot, unlike a James Harden.
Looking at his efficiency numbers, he posts a 98.7 offensive rating. That means he scores less than a point per 100 possessions. Translation: he takes a lot of shots to get his scoring output.
Take his game against Kansas back in December. He needed 14 shots just to muster 13 points in the win, including just 2-of-11 from inside the arc.
While he’s a first-round talent on body alone, he may need another year under Bobby Hurley. Otherwise, NBA teams may just be getting an inefficient ball hog.