Daniel Orton

Daniel Orton made his NBA debut 582 days after being drafted by Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic drafted Daniel Orton on June 24, 2010, with the 29th overall pick of the NBA Draft. 582 days later, the 6-foot-10 center made his big league debut in garbage time of Friday night’s 93-67 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.

Orton, a project pick and one of five Kentucky players selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft, sank two free-throws in his three minutes and nine seconds off the bench for the Magic in Friday’s blowout loss. It wasn’t much, obviously, but at least he can say that he’s finally played in the NBA. It was a long road to that point, too, as Orton had to deal with a season-ending knee injury last season while on assignment in the NBA Development League.

While Orton waited to make his NBA debut, teammate Dwight Howard was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for a third straight season, ‘strongly’ considered playing overseas and decided that his trade demand would extend to nearly half of the teams in the NBA before his emotions bubbled over following the loss to the Hornets. It would seem that Howard’s likely going to be traded sooner rather than later following the latest incident, though that doesn’t necessarily bode well for his backup’s future in Disney World.

The Magic declined Orton’s rookie option earlier in the week, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but it wasn’t without controversy. There are very few players that haven’t had their first rookie option extended — Joe Alexander being one of the more high-profile prospects of the bunch — but Orton’s case was quite rare considering that, prior to Friday it looked like he may never play a game with the team that drafted him.

“I haven’t done anything on the court to prove that I can play or anything, so I understand why they did it,” Orton told the Orlando Sentinel. “But I don’t understand a lot of things, such as why I didn’t get a chance maybe to showcase what I have.”

Getting to the charity stripe for a pair of free-throws in a blowout loss to the Hornets probably wasn’t exactly what Orton had in mind when he made the above comment, but it’ll be interesting to see exactly what happens with him down the road when he’s able to actually showcase what he has. There aren’t a lot of players that have Orton’s combination of size, strength and shooting touch, but the Magic apparently weren’t impressed with what he brought to the table during practice.

Considering he’s just 21 years of age, however, there’s a solid chance that whichever team picks him up this summer might better utilize him on their roster. At the very least, it’s unlikely he’d have to go another 50,284,800 seconds on an NBA roster without actually seeing the court during a game, right?

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.

Knicks associate head coach: Porzingis might be combination of Gasol, Nowitzki

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Knicks president Phil Jackson compared New York’s No. 4 overall pick, Kristaps Porzingis, to Shawn Bradley.

Porzingis resisted that comparison, but he might appreciate these ones – to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki – a little more.

Knicks associate head coach Kurt Rambis, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Perhaps the most successful European big men in recent times are Gasol, whom Rambis coached, and Nowitzki.

“He might be a combination of both of them,’’ Rambis said. ‘He can do so many things. You guys haven’t seen it yet. And some of it won’t come out for three, four, five years either. He’s got to grow up, mature, develop, get stronger and [get] used to the NBA game. He already understands basketball and knows what to do, and he’s an unselfish player. He makes really good decisions. It wasn’t like he was a blank slate coming here.’’

Aside from his intensive work ethic, Porzingis also has an unprecedented gift.

“He’s got 3-point range — like effortless 3-point range, too,’’ Rambis said. “It’s not even hard for him to shoot for distance.’’

I like Porzingis and think he has a bright NBA future, but is piling this level of praise on him really a good idea? Rambis adds the caveats that it could take years for Porzingis’ talent to translate, but this still sets up an incredibly high ceiling for Porzingis to reach.

Jackson and Knicks coach Derek Fisher had done a good job of keeping expectations in line, praising Porzingis’ work ethic and modest progress. Jackson might have gone too far with the Bradley comparison, but at least he limited the hype.

Rambis needs to show more perspective. Many rookies flash amazing potential before their first game. Far fewer become Hall of Famers. Ditto rookies who drill 3-pointers in practice relative to those who do it in games.

I still think Porzingis will be fine, and maybe in New York, an overhyping is inevitable. I’m just not sure Rambis is doing Porzingis any favors by contributing to it.