AP Photo/John Raoux
In a rather uneventful game that went down to the wire, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 80-78 in the fourth day of the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League. The Thunder were led by a balanced attack, as four players scored in double-figures. Kyle Weaver had 21 points, nine assists, and five rebounds, Mustafa Shakur had 21 points, five assists, five rebounds, and five steals, Byron Mullens had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Ryan Reid had 12 points. Joe Crawford and Paul Davis continue their strong play for the Magic, as they finished with 17 and 18 points, respectively.
Because James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and Eric Maynor didn’t play for Oklahoma City, some of the game’s appeal was lessened. The fact that the Thunder still won the game, despite missing three of their rotation players, speaks to the amount of talent they have on the roster.
Slowly but surely, Daniel Orton has begun to play better as the week has progressed. Compared to previous games, Orton had a little more success offensively and that was encouraging to see. Four points and four rebounds is not impressive by any means, let’s be frank, but Orton flashed some of his potential on offense. In the second quarter, Orton scored both of his field goals in impressive fashion. On one possession, Orton posted up on the left block against Marcus Lewis and was able to bank-in a smooth turnaround jumpshot. On another possession, Orton displayed his mid-range game, as he was able to calmly sink a jumper at the top of the key.
There’s no question that Orton is a raw player on offense, though he does have the tools to be effective. The foundation is there for Orton to operate efficiently on the low block, as well as have the ability to spread the floor and knock down mid-range jumpers with confidence. Orton’s defense needs some work as well, especially when it comes to rebounding the basketball, but he’s been able to amass a few impressive blocks in the last three days.
Wins and losses in Summer League don’t define players. The important thing to take away from today’s game for Orton, someone that lacks polish and needs to improve his conditioning, is that he was able to do some good things on both ends of the floor. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done with Orton, but he’s coachable and has a desire to improve. That’s half the battle.
And when will the real Stanley Robinson stand up?