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2019 NBA draft profile: Explosive guard Luguentz Dort could be a fit for Sixers at No. 24

2019 NBA draft profile: Explosive guard Luguentz Dort could be a fit for Sixers at No. 24

Position: Guard

Height: 6-4

Weight: 222

School: Arizona State

Luguentz Dort is a Canadian guard that moved to Jacksonville, Florida, as a high school sophomore. He was able to face better competition and the Montreal native was also able to learn English. Dort then moved back to the Great White North for his senior season to play at the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy, the same school as Jamal Murray. He turned himself into a five-star recruit and chose Arizona State with other big offers on the table.

In his lone year under Bobby Hurley, Dort was named the Pac-12 Rookie of the Year and was selected to the conference’s All-Freshman and All-Defense First Teams. He led the Sun Devils in scoring at 16.1 points a game and also averaged 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals. 

Strengths

His biggest strength is probably … his strength. At 222 pounds, Dort is a wrecking ball when driving to the paint — something he can do pretty smoothly with both hands — and shows absolutely no fear. He has a lightning quick first step and is an elite athlete. He’s so smooth, takes such long strides and is so explosive that he plays much bigger than his 6-foot-4 height would suggest. It’s sort of like Donovan Mitchell coming out of Louisville, though Dort features more muscle. 

This play against Kansas is a perfect example.

That is special athleticism. 

His form doesn’t look bad and he’s able to create space for his jumpers with ease because of his quickness and a smooth handle. He spent most of his time off the ball, but showed potential as a playmaker and working the pick-and-roll.

He’s as active as they come defensively. He had the fourth-most steals in the Pac-12 and is also a strong rebounder for his height. He was frequently able to turn stops into opportunities on the other end. He should be able to guard ones and twos and the occasional three at the next level.

Weaknesses

It’s odd because his form looks pretty solid, but he shot just 30.7 percent from three. For a high usage player, he struggled shooting off the dribble. He also shot just 40.5 percent from the field. Part of that is his inability to finish at the rim at times. Again, it’s a little strange considering he’s so strong and athletic. He did have a tendency to force things, dribbling into crowds and causing turnovers.

Like a lot of young players, you worry about his defensive awareness, especially off the ball. There could be concern about him being a little too active and physical as a young player.

Fit

Dort is an intriguing fit for the Sixers. If he can develop into more of a point guard than an off guard, he’d be an even better fit. He could likely help them immediately on defense while he works out the kinks on his shot and the rest of his offensive game.

He’s a borderline first-round pick so he could be in play at No. 24 or perhaps if Elton Brand uses his four second-round picks to maneuver to the back end of the first.

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Sixers at Thunder: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers at Thunder: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

After falling apart in the fourth quarter Wednesday night for the second time in their past four games, the 7-4 Sixers are back in action Friday.

Here are the essentials for tonight’s game against the 4-7 Oklahoma City Thunder:

When: 8 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia 
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

‘It’s a little bit of everything’

After starting 5-0, the Sixers have lost four of their last six games. The two wins, at home against Charlotte and Cleveland, weren’t easy, either.

What’s gone wrong, outside of the obvious issues with shooting and turnovers, and the minimal time the regular starters have played together?

“It's a little bit of everything,” Ben Simmons told reporters Wednesday night. “There's some things that we definitely need to touch up that I'm sure we'll go back to the film and watch. But it's a long season.”

This is a winnable game for the Sixers, but it’s another one they could lose if they play a couple of rungs below their top level. Oklahoma City is 4-3 at home and has a fascinating backcourt of 34-year-old Chris Paul and 21-year-old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, one of the players shipped to the Thunder in the Paul George trade. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 20.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his second NBA season. 

Harris’ nasty slump 

Tobias Harris is in a terrible slump, having missed his last 23 three-point attempts. He’s now shooting 20.4 percent from three-point range this season, second-worst among all players with at least 40 long range attempts. 

Brett Brown wants Harris to shoot himself out of it (see story).

The situation is starting to resemble that of a No. 3 hitter who hasn’t picked up a hit in a week and desperately wants to just find a hole in the defense and feel what it’s like to stand on base again after making solid contact. Harris will have another chance to break out of it in Oklahoma City.

Some positive recent history 

The Sixers won the last time they were in Oklahoma City, snapping a 19-game losing streak against the Thunder on Feb. 28.

Joel Embiid was out that night, but he’s expected to return tonight after sitting Wednesday (injury management/left knee soreness). Jonah Bolden, who actually started vs. the Thunder back in February and had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting in the Sixers’ win, is on assignment with the Delaware Blue Coats.

Harris scored 32 points in that February game, his high as a Sixer. 



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How Ben Simmons blocks out distractions to get to better mental state

How Ben Simmons blocks out distractions to get to better mental state

It seems like nowadays everyone is glued to their phone screens. It can consume your time and social media can be a major distraction.

That’s what Ben Simmons came to realize over the last year. 

“I’ll be on my phone when I need to, but if I’m with my family or friends, I’m typically not on it all the time,” Simmons said. “It’s a distraction. Phones are great but they’re also sometimes on the bad side depending on what you’re look at, whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, whatever people are saying. You got to be present, be in the moment.”

There is plenty of negativity on social media — especially for a young, All-Star player like Simmons.

What he’s found is that if he doesn’t focus on what other people are saying about him, it puts him in a better mental state ahead of games.

“Staying off your phone before games, locking in, not letting others determine how you feel mentally,” Simmons said. “Lesser distractions for me, the better I play, which I love. I love going into a game not having any worries besides my teammates or winning a game.”

In an open interview, which you can watch above, Simmons discussed how his focus has changed and how he’s not letting outside voices affect his preparation or play on the court.

NBC Sports Regional Networks has launched a multi-platform campaign on mental health and men's health, HeadStrong: Mental Health and Sports, for the month of November. You can find more information about the initiative here.

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