The Philadelphia 76ers could use anyone to step in for Nerlens Noel now that he is apparently shut down for the season, despite conflicting reports. Daniel Orton could be the center to fill the role.
The overweight center has been playing solid for an undermanned Sixers team for the last two preseason games. He’s a space-eater who steps up defensively and positions himself well in the paint to grab rebounds. He grabbed 10 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and four rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night.
His offensive skills aren’t quite polished, but the Sixers rely on their perimeter shooting on the offensive end anyway. His role offensively is to grab rebounds, something the other big men on the roster lack.
Orton handled the defensive end well, particularly against superstar Kevin Love. He kept Love from doing too much damage holding him to 19 points and six rebounds when he usually averages a double-double.
The 6-foot-10, 275-pound center averages a block per game this preseason and has kept himself out of foul trouble. He can step in for starting center Spencer Hawes, who disappears sometimes. Orton scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds, had a block and steal in just over 16 minutes against the Wolves while, Hawes scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and had a steal in 23 minutes. Orton had nearly identical stats and played seven less minutes too. He’s also averaging two offensive rebounds per game
His positioning in the paint and use of size will force bigger to teams to shoot outside.