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Daniel Orton Is a Nice Signing for Small Philadelphia 76ers Squad

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | On Thursday, October 17, the Philadelphia 76ers signed center Daniel Orton, who was recently released by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He's not Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins (two players he's backed up in his career) or the second coming of Moses Malone, but he is a nice young player that adds some sorely needed height, bulk and rebounding skill to a thin Philadelphia frontcourt.

He's played in only 29 games in the NBA and unlike his 6-foot-10-inch, 275 pound frame, his stats are small. He's played 10 minutes per game, scored 2.7 points per game and pulled down 2.2 rebounds per game.

He has showed glimpses of promise, though.

In the 2011-2012 season with the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard went down with a herniated disk and Orton was called upon. He started two games for the Magic. The same game where Orlando clinched a playoff berth, Orton played 29 minutes, scored 11 points, and added in four rebounds, five steals, and three blocks.

That's from a player who had only played 41 minutes in the NBA prior to that, not even a full game. He wouldn't reach double-digits in points again, but he would make some respectable contributions.

The next year with Oklahoma City would be more of the same. He'd get two games where he played more than 20 minutes, the first being in a 104-95 win over Sacramento where he scored 10 points and pulled down seven boards.

Last season in the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers, Orton averaged 12.5 points per game, eight rebounds per game, over two blocks a game and shot 53 percent from the floor. For a player in dire need of playing time, those are nice numbers.

It's important not to forget, Orton is only 23-years-old. The 76ers are in full-rebuild mode and with their current front-court situation, he's a nice player to add to the mix.

The other centers and power forwards listed on Philadelphia's roster are: Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown, Marc Koshwal, Arnette Moultrie, Nerlens Noel and Thaddeus Young.

Hawes and Young will likely be the starting center and power forward, respectively. Hawes is one of the team's top three players right (along with Young and Evan Turner, which may speak volumes of where this team is headed) now but has an expiring contract, and it may behoove the team to move him for other assets.

Allen started a number of games last season but new head coach Brett Brown is not happy with his conditioning. He responded to a question from the media about his conditioning, saying, "He's a C."

Moultrie is injured and out for the year. Noel is injured and out until at least Christmas. Brown is injured and seems to be perpetually injured. Koshwal is a rookie center from DePaul that's averaged 2.3 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game in 8.7 minutes per game of action this preseason and is less of an unknown than Orton.

With big-game experience at Kentucky and a few playoff minutes with the Magic, Orton could be a nice project for a young team desperate for some big men.

Phil Shore lives in New Jersey and is the creator and editor of Shore Thing Sports blog. He's been published in The Boston Globe, Philly.com, FoxSoccer.com, LaxMagazine.com and New England Lacrosse Journal.

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