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2010 NBA Draft Results: Orlando Magic Signal Change By Drafting Daniel Orton

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 14:  Daniel Orton #33 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the final of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 14, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Kentucky won 75-74 in overtime. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Wil BradleyCorrespondent IJune 25, 2010

General Manager Otis Smith once again lived up to expectations by totally surprising everyone familiar with the Orlando Magic.

 

Smith continually reiterated the Magic needed only “one or two” pieces to win an NBA Championship. He also contended that he would take the best player available.

 

Orton fits that thinking in a not-so-perfect way. But his potential as a player, and the added trade potential he provides, makes up for the loose fit.

 

Atlanta and Oklahoma City may have altered Smith's draft plans by taking Jordan Crawford and Quincy Pondexter with earlier picks.

 

Both players attended a private workout at the team's practice facility. My money says Smith knew what he was doing.

 

Instead, the Orlando Magic now have a 19-year-old, 6'10" center/power forward.

 

Somewhere, Marcin Gortat got the news and a funny feeling in his stomach came along with it. That twinge, a physical manifestation of angst, was for good reason.

 

Daniel Orton played one season at the University of Kentucky, as a backup to the draft's No. five overall pick, DeMarcus Cousins.

 

Orton held the Jan Brady role for the Wildcats basketball team. Originally recruited by John Calipari's predecessor, Billy Gillispie, Orton didn't quite fit in.

 

Incidents occurred during the season, indicating Orton disliked his situation at Kentucky. He decided to forgo another season in Rupp Arena and enter the 2010 NBA Draft.

 

If karma exists, then Orton must be an all right type of guy, because he became an NBA first-round pick.

 

Orton's stock began dropping quickly. Some believed, as I reported it earlier, that Orton might fall out of the first round. He made it, not by much, but the decision paid off.

 

As a player, he's about potential. With only one season as a limited backup to judge him by, gauging his ability becomes difficult. Orton worked out well at the combine.

 

He came in at a lean 269 pounds, with a seven-foot-four-inch wingspan. There was also that pick-and-pop jumper off the pick-and-roll.

 

During his limited minutes behind Cousins, Orton proved he had touch around the basket, a rebounding mentality, and the ability to finish.

 

He left the NBA Combine projected as a mid-first round selection.

 

Then, Orton canceled all his scheduled workouts. He gained body fat, and he didn't demonstrate any desire to impress scouts.

 

Suddenly, Orton looked more like a second-round player.

 

By drafting Orton, the Magic signaled they intend to make changes. Gortat or Brandon Bass, maybe both, might need to prepare for a new home.

 

Again, smart money says Gortat will be the odd man out. He carries the most trade value you can't teach height. With Orton, the Magic have a backup for Dwight Howard.

 

Other than height, everything Gortat lacks, Orton possesses.

 

There exists the chance that Orton may be a pick for another team. During the last 48 hours, Smith's name popped up with every last-minute rumor.

 

Either way, Smith found the breathing room he needed.

 

With their second-round pick, Smith added a super athletic defender in Stanley Robinson from Connecticut. Matt Barnes can call his agent it's time to find a new home.

 

Until the draft, the much anticipated 2010 free agency period provided little intrigue for Magic fans.

 

Suddenly, the Chris Paul trade rumors, look a little less rumorish.

 

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