Magic Assign Daniel Orton to NBA D-League
(Update: As expected, the Magic officially confirmed the move on Wednesday.)
Orton, the 29th overall pick in this year's draft, has been hampered by a knee injury sustained earlier this year and has yet to play in a game for the team that drafted him based purely on his size and potential after averaging a paltry 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as a freshman for the Wildcats.
In five starts for the Magic's Summer League entry, Orton averaged a disappointing 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while hitting less than 15 percent (4-of-27) of his field goal attempts.
While it's been reported that Orton recently returned to full-court drills, his conditioning has always been a question and it likely didn't help that he hasn't been able to practice.
With the Thunderbirds, Orton will be able to ease back into game shape while also testing out the offensive repertoire Magic big man coach Patrick Ewing has been teaching him. His D-League coaches might also be able to teach him a few tricks as both head coach Darvin Ham and assistant Sean Rooks -- who played his final NBA season as a member of the Magic -- have NBA experience in the post.
The assignment is particularly surprising considering the Magic have typically steered far away from using the D-League in the past. In fact, the last time the Magic have used the D-League during the regular season is when they recalled Marcin Gortat on Dec. 2, 2007. Hopefully for the Magic brass, Orton returns from the D-League as polished as Gortat has become.
Orton joins four other first round picks from this year's NBA Draft in Cole Aldrich, Patrick Patterson, Craig Brackins and Dominique Jones.