Give and Go: Why part ways with Daniel Orton?

Give and Go: Why part ways with Daniel Orton?
January 12, 2014, 9:00 am
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Daniel Orton averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game for the Sixers this season before being released. (USA Today Images)

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Sixers to our resident basketball analysts and see what they have to say.

Running the Give and Go this week are columnist John Gonzalez, producer/reporter Matt Haughton and CSN anchor Amy Fadool.

Why did the Sixers cut ties with Daniel Orton?

Why does it matter? There are a lot of interesting things about this team and this season and the direction the franchise is heading. Daniel Orton isn't one of them. He's just a guy. There are plenty more Daniel Ortons to take Daniel Orton's place.

On the surface, it seems fine to get rid of a guy that averaged just 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11.4 minutes a game instead of guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season. However, it's always a risky proposition to give up mobile big men early in their career. Orton is still just 23 years old and has plenty of basketball ahead of him. Plus, the Sixers' other big men outside of Spencer Hawes are either too passive (Lavoy Allen), too weak (Brandon Davies) or rehabbing (Arnett Moultrie and Nerlens Noel). Orton also brings something none of the Sixer bigs have in a particularly large dose: Toughness.

This was a surprising move to me. Orton's numbers were anything but spectacular, but he did have a post presence and could protect the rim. By releasing Orton, the Sixers avoided having the remainder of his contract guaranteed, but it's not like the Sixers were over budget on that front. My only thinking is they didn't see enough of him to justify that payment, no matter how much, and perhaps feel they can get through the rest of the season with their current big men on the roster or even pick up a center in the D-League. Interestingly enough, in his lone season at University of Kentucky, Orton averaged almost identical numbers: 3.4 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game in just 502 minutes during 38 games.