Bruce Maddox - Orlando Pinstriped Post
Orlando Pinstriped Post presents coverage of Orlando Magic Media Day.
Magic rookie center Daniel Orton experienced his first-ever Media Day, at least at the NBA level, this afternoon. Here are some notes from his availability session with reporters.
Orton dispelled rumors that he might need another surgery on his left knee; reports surfaced last week that another operation could be in order. Instead, though, the team has him on "a four-week plan" to strengthen his left leg. "It's just conditioning so far," he said. "It's not even injured, really ... just the muscles around [the knee] are weak." He expects to be on the court again sometime in the next four weeks, which means he will not have the benefit of playing in the preseason. When asked, he said that assistant coach Patrick Ewing, who works primarily with the team's post players, has not clarified Orton's role with the team "at all," reiterating that the team is more concerned with getting him healthy first.
Orton also said his teammates have helped him transition to the professional life, but also that "I can see why I gotta earn my way, too." When I asked if he was on "donut duty," he responded, "Yeah, yeah, pretty much," with a laugh. Some tips he received from Vince Carter in this morning's team meeting was "ask questions and don't be shy."
The Kentucky product sounded enthusiastic about playing in Orlando, saying he has a few friends in the city already. With regard to the team, he said "it's wonderful to be here with a team like this, a winning team, one of the powerhouses in the East."
I asked Orton if the team had indicated if he might join the team's D-League affiliate later this season once his knee is healthy. "They haven't said," he responded, "I think that's something they're trying to keep out of my head so I don't think about it too much." When I asked how he'd respond if he got word the team was sending him to the D-League, he said, "I'd be upset, but I'd understand where they were coming from. It's just something that I wouldn't be happy about--like, thrilled about--but I'd be understanding." Earlier this summer, Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com wrote that Orton could indeed play in the D-League this year, but that he's more likely to stay with the NBA club due to GM Otis Smith's emphasis on team continuity.
After the Pro Summer League, Orton switched from uniform number 43 to his current 21. He said 43 was simply a number the team assigned him because he had yet to select a number. He settled on 21 because Ryan Anderson wears the number he truly covets, 33.