Report: Pacers considering taking Daniel Orton in NBA Draft

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The Pacers have a lot of work to do to turn their team into a contender. They’re still siphoning off pieces of the former Eastern Conference contenders (while Ron Artest is winning championships for he Lakers) and trying to formulate a new core. 

Apparently, one of their moves they may be planning is a little out of the box.
Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports that the Pacers are considering taking Daniel Orton, the high-upside, low-college-production center from the Kentucky Wildcats with the 10th pick. 
I’m going to stop this carnival ride for a moment and let you get all the jokes about Orton not being white, not being a college superstar, and not being tremendously undersized out of the way. 
Are we good? 
Orton is actually a pretty great pick at that spot, even with Roy Hibbert on roster. Orton is 6-10 and has crazy amounts of athleticism, something the Pacers need. Putting him in a set with Hibbert would essentially create a super-rebounding machine for the Pacers, and give Danny Granger someone else to run the pick and roll with. You could argue that the Pacers have a bigger need at point guard, but with the slim picking at point in this year’s draft, Orton is a high-upside pick that could work out remarkably well if his game evolves quickly with pro coaching. 
Plus, he won’t come in with the expectations of a Tyler Hansbrough, and could allow the Pacers to trade some of their other veteran bigs for younger talent. 

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.