Some would say that Oklahoma City Thunder center Daniel Orton is having his best summer ever in his young career. Before he missed two straight 2013 NBA summer league games with a mild concussion that he received after bumping heads with teammate Reggie Jackson, Orton was making a name for himself. In the three summer league games he played in, Orton averaged 12.0 points, 5.0 boards, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks on 66.7 percent shooting (16-of-24). Orton looked much more relaxed and fluid while he was on the court, finishing plays both off the pick and roll as well as the offensive glass.
On Tuesday, Orton made his way to Yukon High School in Yukon, Okla. to participate in the Thunder Youth Basketball Camp to work with local OKC kids. Where some still might be concerned about his head injury, Orton says he feels really good. When I asked Orton about how he did in the summer league, he told me "“I think I did really well. There’s a lot of things that I could’ve done better, but that’s why we work during the summertime.”
Lastly, Orton’s thoughts on if he’s shown to the team and scouts that warrants him a spot on the roster: “I’m not really worried about that. I just go out there and do what ive been doing and put in the work and then you just see results, that’s pretty much it.”
Yes, Orton proved that he can be productive, when healthy, on the basketball court. The only thing that is concerning is money, money, money. Oh, and the luxury tax. According to ShamSports, the Thunder's currently salary sits at just over $70 million. If OKC should pick up team options on Orton, Hasheem Thabeet and DeAndre Liggins, their salary would be around $70 million, a hair under the expected luxury tax cap of $71.6 million. Another factor is that OKC currently has four centers under contract: Orton, Kendrick Perkins, Thabeet and Steven Adams. With Adams just signing a deal with OKC, it looks like Orton may be out the door, but after a terrific performance in the summer league, Orton is optimistic that he will have a place in the league somewhere.