CAMDEN, N.J. — When GM Elton Brand was asked at his end-of-season presser about what the Sixers were looking for in the 2019 NBA draft, he gave a pretty straightforward answer.
He mentioned players that could contribute right away and that shooting and defense are always priorities.
Luguentz Dort, an explosive one-and-done guard out of Arizona State, doesn’t necessarily fit that profile, but was one of the six players the Sixers worked out at their practice facility Monday. The Montreal native is an elite athlete with an NBA body, but he shot just 30.7 from three, lacked awareness at times defensively and is just 20 years old.
After the workout, senior director of scouting Vince Rozman reiterated the type of player the Sixers are looking for.
“We’re going to be focused on guys that can complement the core we have,” Rozman said. “Hopefully someone that can come in right away [and play]. From a profile standpoint, somebody that can stretch the floor, but also come and bring a defensive mindset and play hard and have a maturity about them that they can come and fit with our group and kind of know their role and know what we need them to do right away.”
So how does Dort fit that description?
Rozman seemed to think he fits it quite well.
When asked about age factoring into the mature player the Sixers were looking for, Rozman mentioned that he didn’t think the two things were mutually exclusive. He saw Dort and LSU big man Naz Reid, who was also part of Monday’s workout, as players that could help immediately.
Rozman talked about a maturity to Dort’s game and physical traits that may belie his age. Dort is a player that’s been on the Sixers’ radar for quite some time.
“We’ve seen Lu for awhile now,” Rozman said. “We’ve seen a bunch of his prep games last year and even before that. First you notice such a great physical profile. He’s athletic and big and strong and has a great motor. He’s improving as a shooter. He’s an extremely aggressive kid, coming downhill, the plays he makes. There’s a lot to be intrigued about.”
In the portion of the workout that was open to the media, Dort didn’t stand out. His shot isn’t broken, but it’s still a work in progress. A 3-on-3 half-court scrimmage may also not be the greatest setting for Dort to unleash his ridiculous athletic ability.
Still, he sees a fit for himself alongside players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons with how the team likes to get out in transition and share the ball in the half court.
As a player that seems to enjoy the physical aspect of the game, he appreciated what this current Sixers team brings to the table.
“There’s a lot of tough guys and I feel like I’m really tough,” Dort said. “I bring a lot of energy on defense and even just running down the floor and finish baskets and stuff.”
Dort grew up in a tough part of Montreal. It’s part of the reason he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, as a high school sophomore. That’s also where he learned English, before returning to the Great White North for his senior season.
While he may not be a perfect fit, there’s a whole lot to like about the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
And the Sixers clearly have their eye on him.
“The fact that they’ve been watching me since high school means a lot to me,” Dort said. “For me, it means they felt like I could fit in with this team.”
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