2013 NBA Summer League: Daniel Orton May Find Minutes for Oklahoma City Thunder

By Cody Williams
Daniel Orton Thunder Summer league
Jerome Miron – USA Today Sports Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder went 5-0 at the Orlando NBA Summer League and ended up taking the championship home. I would call it a trophy, but it was actually just a hat because, well, it’s the Orlando Summer League. However, the Thunder will take what they saw from their young players over a trophy any day.

Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb both shined as Jackson averaged 19.5 points per game on 53.8 percent shooting and Lamb averaged 18.8 points, four rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. However, the breakout star for the Thunder was big man Daniel Orton.

In three games in Orlando, Orton averaged 12 points, five rebounds, one steal and 1.7 blocks per game in just 16.7 minutes per game. He also converted on a fantastic 66.7 percent of his shots at Summer League.

Orton was with the Thunder last season for 13 games, but didn’t see the floor much. He averaged only 2.5 points, two rebounds and 0.2 blocks per game on 46.2 percent shooting. Over his two years in the league, he’s played in just 29 total games. In 29 games in the D-League last year, though, Orton averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field in 28.2 minutes per game.

Other than his outstanding play at Summer League, the thing that many people noticed was that Orton was in much better shape than he had been in his first two NBA seasons. He was leaner, more muscular and had better conditioning which allowed him to make more plays on both ends of the floor.

With Kendrick Perkins likely on an extremely short leash next season because of his recent struggles, Orton could find some minutes behind guys like Nick Collison in the rotation. It’s clear that he’s put in the work to improve his game and his body and, in all likelihood, he could be rewarded for it in the upcoming season.

Cody Williams is a Senior Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20, add him on Google+ and like his Facebook page.

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