Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith surprised everyone but himself when he selected raw, freshman center Daniel Orton from Kentucky with the 29th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft. Smith said it was an "easy pick" for him to make, and rather surprisingly said he was prepared to trade the pick had Orton not been there. And when asked if the Magic--who he later said have the best depth at the power forward and center positions in the league--would have taken a different big man had Orton not been there, Smith said, "I don't think so."
He seemed pleased that Orton was available, calling him "the best available player." He praised Orton's "live body, good hands, good feet," and liked that he is "active" with "upside" and "potential. He expressed his belief that Orton would have become a lottery pick if he decided to stay in school.
Yet Smith tempered expectations by classifying Orton as "a big guy you don't necessarily have to use today." Later, he said Orton "has some work to do."
Fears about a knee injury may have impacted his draft stock, but Smith was adamant that the team consulted his medical reports and are assured the knee is fine.
The per-game stats indeed indicate as much. In just 13.2 minutes per game during his only collegiate season, Orton averaged just 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds. His career-highs are 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Yet John Hollinger's Draft Rater ranked Orton as the 12th-best prospect in the draft, a potential reason for optimism.
Smith sees Orton as a center and expects him to play in the Orlando Pro Summer League in two weeks. When asked if he expects Orton to start the season in Orlando, Smith paused for a while before saying, "Yeah."