Daniel Orton finally getting a chance to shine
With Dwight Howard already nursing an injury (most likely out for the season), and now with Glen Davis going down with an injury last night (sprained knee, will be evaluated further today), for the first time in his career, Daniel Orton has a chance to show the world he can play.
Last night Orton did that, and as you can see in the video, people have taken notice. Orton scored 11 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and had 5 steals in 29 minutes to help the Magic clinch a playoff birth by beating Cleveland. Orton’s previous career-high? 2 points.
Nelson predicted to Orton earlier in the season that there would come a time when he would be looked to to contribute impactful minutes for the Magic. That moment finally came on Sunday night for a player used only in garbage time previously.
Orton had a couple of dunks, a sweeping left-handed hook shot and five free throws on the offensive end. But defensively, he shined with the five steals, four rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-best 29 minutes.
“It just felt good to get a win because we really needed this win,’” Orton said. “With playing more confidence comes and you start getting comfortable out there and you figure out what to do.”
Orton, who is finally getting a chance to show why he was a first-round pick two seasons ago, had a stellar stretch early in the fourth quarter.
He converted a left-handed hook off a tip-pass from Anderson, blocked a shot and seconds later started a fastbreak with a long outlet pass.
“I’m always out there trying to get blocks, but the five steals that surprised me,” Orton admitted. “I was just trying to play good defense. That’s one of the things that Stan asked me to do. … It’s a great feeling to know that you have the team behind you. You enjoy moments like this when guys are proud for you. It feels good.”
If he can continue playing productive minutes in the next couple of weeks and cement a spot on the Magic’s playoff rotation, Orton will stand a good chance of making an NBA roster next season, which will help Kentucky get to 23 players in the NBA. #TheRoadTo23
The Orton highlights begin around the 1:46 mark.