As part of our draft coverage, we are profiling wings and big men the Celtics might be interested in with the 19th pick. Next up is Daniel Orton, a center from Kentucky. We made these profiles using our own personal knowledge of the prospects combined with research from numerous sites, including NBADraft.net and Draft Express.
Draft Express projection: 21st pick NBADraft.net: 18th pick
Daniel Orton is everything that’s wrong with college basketball and the transition to the NBA. I admit, there is an argument for him leaving Kentucky for the NBA draft. Yes, he’s going to be a first round pick. Yes, he played behind DeMarcus Cousins. Yes, hes a physical freak at 6’9.5″, 269 pounds with a 7’4″ wingspan.
But let’s be realistic here. Orton couldn’t get off the bench for a college team–he played just 13 mpg–and now he’s supposed to make an impact in the NBA? Not a chance. Orton averaged just 3.4 ppg and 3.3 rpg in the big man deficient SEC. He lacked intensity and toughness in most of the time he did see, not putting to use all the physical advantages he had on his opponents.
And that’s what pisses me off. Orton will be drafted highly–hopefully not by the Boston Celtics–because of his “potential.” But how much NBA potential does a guy who only reached double-figures in scoring twice in 38 games, according to Draft Express, really have?
Orton is the type of player who NEEDED to stay at least one more year in college to improve his fundamentals and learn how to be a dominant college player before trying the NBA. Orton needs the reps, the experience; not only did he play just 13 mpg as a freshman at Kentucky, but he also missed most of his senior year of high school after undergoing surgery on his left knee. The kid is talented, but based on experience, he’s basically a high school senior. And a high school senior is not ready to play in the NBA.
Orton has the physical tools and the skill-level to be a great player, but he has shown no signs yet of reaching his potential. While at Kentucky, Orton rarely received post touches, and when he did, seemed almost too eager to impress his coach. Offensively, he showed range out to 15-feet on his jumper, but he rarely shot from the outside and was relegated mostly to defensive duties. Most of his offensive production came from offensive rebounds and put-back lay ups.
The lone–and major–bright spot of Orton’s game comes on the defensive end. Despite his limited playing time, Orton averaged 1.4 bpg, which translates to about 4 block per 40-minutes. With his long arms, big frame, and decent leaping ability, Orton is an imposing force in the lane–deterring opponents from finishing in the paint.
If Orton develops offensively, he will be an asset on some NBA team because of his prodigious defensive talents. However, Orton has a lot of growing to do offensively, and he’s not going to get the reps he needs sitting on an NBA bench. The only way to get better offensively is to play, and Orton will not be doing that next year on an NBA roster.