The Oklahoma City Thunder faced off against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night and they went into the game with a solid plan.
As everyone knows, the Magic is home to the draft’s number one pick, Paolo Banchero, who has been working like gangbusters in the NBA so far and has been talked about as this season’s Rookie of the Year.
The man is a force and the real deal, that’s obvious after just a couple of weeks.
Just watch this Lu Dort defense on Paolo Banchero.. pic.twitter.com/byqOwuEwLf
— Nick Crain (@CrainNBA) November 2, 2022
Because of that, the Thunder wanted to make his life very hard.
Throughout the game, Luguentz Dort was all over Banchero, practically smothering the young star from one side of the court to the other.
The defense on Banchero was absolute and robust, powerful in the hope of slowing him down.
It did just that: Banchero, whose average so far this season is 21.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, scored 15 points.
Of course, the Thunder also pulled out a win.
The Thunder have now won four games in a row.
And they haven’t just beaten weaker teams like the Magic: they have also taken down the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers, twice.
No one thinks that the Thunder will surge all the way to the Finals but they are certainly showing some growth and strength, laying the groundwork for a massively bright future.
Dort’s defense of Banchero is just one sign of the team’s promise.
Imagine how much better this team will get with more experience – and the addition of Chet Holmgren, who is currently sitting out the season?