OKC Thunder Guards Theo Maledon, Lu Dort tabbed as rising stars by NBA

The NBA All-Star break and All-Star festivities are coming up this weekend. Thursday marks the last day of NBA action before the All-Star hiatus. On Sunday, the NBA will hold their All-Star game, 3-point contest, Dunk contest, and Skills competition. The only event missing is the Rising Stars game that puts the top international prospects in the NBA vs the top US talents. While the game will not happen, the teams were still announced.

For the Oklahoma City Thunder, they saw two players who were selected for this honor. Previously, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had been a part of the world roster, but in his third NBA season, he has run out of eligibility. However, this young Thunder team still has two on the squad, both coming on team world.

Rookie Theo Maledon and second-year player Lu Dort headline the World team. Two participants are tied for the most participants with Memphis, New Orleans, Golden State, Denver, and Miami.

Oklahoma City is the only team with two players on the same team (team World).

Theo Maledon as a rookie has made 14 starts in his NBA career, across 29 games played. Maledon has posted seven points, three assists, and two rebounds per game while averaging a steal per contest. When Maledon plays 30-plus minutes a night, the 19-year-old posts nearly ten points per game, three rebounds, and four assists.

Maledon’s defense has been stellar defensively, Theo Maledon ranks in the 77th percentile in steals, 16th among combo players according to cleaning the glass.

Offensively, Maledon has been effective in the mid-range, shooting 49-percent from the mid-range, 53-percent on long 2’s, and has even knocked down corner 3’s at a high clip (47-percent).

Lu Dort has maintained his stellar defense, shooting down the likes of Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchell, frustrating LeBron James causing an air-ball, and has created defensive highlights…which is incredibly hard to do. Where Lu Dort has taken off, is his three-point shooting. No matter if you look at his overall 3-point percentage, his corner 3’s, or his non-corner 3’s, Lu Dort has made a huge improvement in each category. In the corner, Dort is knocking down shots at a 38-percent clip, including his first career game-winner from the corner.

This game will not be played, but the Thunder have two rising stars to pair with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to springboard this rebuild.

Rylan Stiles

Rylan Stiles is the host of the Locked on Thunder podcast, a media member with the Thunder and the NBA, and Founder of BricktownBuckets.com.

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