Daniel Orton has long been an enigma since he entered the league. Once a highly touted 5-star recruit (that ended up tearing his ACL in his senior year of high school), Orton went from being a bench player under Coach Calipari at Kentucky to a late 1st round pick to the Orlando Magic. Orton only played 13 minutes per game for Coach Cal and many thought he would return to school for another year. He shocked many people when he hired an agent and announced he would go pro after only one year. Looking back on it, coming out early definitely stunted his growth. One can only imagine where Orton would be at right now, had he stayed in Kentucky, like Willey Cauley-Stein is doing this season.
Orton was the 29th pick to the Orlando Magic (who were coming off a finals loss to the Lakers) to eventually back up center Dwight Howard. Orton had the body and size to be a project and hopefully a future role player for the Magic. Orton was assigned to the New Mexico Thunderbirds in early December his first year with the Magic and in his second game, Orton re-injured the same knee he hurt in high school. He had surgery and was out for the entire year. He was later waived by the Magic and picked up by the Thunder who eventually waived him and then he was picked up by the Sixers.
Daniel Orton didn’t get to showcase his talents very often at the University of Kentucky but NBA scouts loved his athleticism, physical tools and wingspan. I believe that those are the same things Hinkie saw in him.
Orton is a great athlete and it allows him to roll to the rim hard and defend the low post well. He can set screens very well, which is an underrated ability he has. His big body and 7-4 wingspan allow him to be a serviceable rebounder and block shots every now and then. In a small sample size, Orton is holding his opponents to 42.1 percent at the rim. He has a 60.9 percentage of rebounds per chance, which is a terrific number..but once again, it is in a small sample size.
Orton needs to be that athletic, big body player that Spencer [Hawes] isn’t when he’s off the floor. Coach Brett Brown isn’t asking him to go out there and post double-doubles every night; he just wants some hustle and hard fouls.