Oct 16, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT
What do you do when you’ve already got a big man rotation stuffed with raw, unpolished, high-upside young’ns like Royce White, Gani Lawal and (eventually) Nerlens Noel? Why, go out and get another one, of course! Like any smart GM, Sam Hinkie knows that you can never buy too many lottery tickets, so he’s dispensed of German center Tim Ohlbrecht (who reminded me too much of Spencer Hawes anyway in like the four minutes of game action I saw him in) and picked up former Oklahoma City Thunder center Daniel Orton.
The Sixers’ new pickup is a 23-year-old third-year player, originally taken 29th in the 2010 draft by the Orlando Magic. Orton declared after one season in Kentucky in which he barely played at all, and since joining the pros, he’s barely played there either, averaging just ten minutes a game across 29 games, most in garbage time. He did get some burn with the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League last year, averaging a steady 13 points, eight boards and two blocks a game, with pretty good shooting numbers and peripherals.
As a young, athletic, decently skilled big man, Orton still has considerable untapped upside, which he’s shown in his D-League and some extended Summer League minutes. But as with Tony Wroten, a recent first-rounder the Sixers poached from the Grizzlies for basically nothing, Hinkie was able to take advantage of the Thunder’s contending nature to skim an asset off them that OKC wasn’t going to have room to utilize anyway–they already have their hands full developing young project bigs (and more recent first-round draft selections) Steven Adams and Perry Jones III, and Orton was probably never going to pan out for them.
Chances are, he won’t pan out for the Sixers either. He might not even make the team for the start of the season, as we currently have 20 players on our training camp roster, at least five of whom will not be on the roster for season’s tip. But he could carve himself a nice role on the Delaware 87ers for the rest of 2013, and maybe show the Sixers what he can do in preparation for a mid-season callup. It’s all tryouts this year with this team anyway, so no pressure and no rush.
Ultimately, another low-risk, medium-reward signing for Hinkie, so good news all around. Only bummer is that it means Orton is no longer as the same roster as Russell Westrbook, who he looks like a creepy blown-up version of, which is pretty hilarious.
RIP Ortbrook. Viva Hinkie.
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