OKC Thunder: Former McGuinness star Daniel Orton used to being mistaken for Russell Westbrook

Former McGuinness standout Daniel Orton is back in his home state and vying for a backup center role. But apparently his face isn't THAT familiar in OKC, as he keeps getting mixed up for teammate Russell Westbrook.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: October 6, 2012

photo - The Thunder's Russell Westbrook, left, and Daniel Orton.  Photos by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
The Thunder's Russell Westbrook, left, and Daniel Orton. Photos by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

How much of your early struggles were health-related?

“Health was a problem that first year. I was sent to the D-League and got hurt the second game. But as far as the second year¸ I was 100-percent healthy. Health hasn't been a factor at all¸ really¸ except for the early beginning of it.”

Did you expect the Thunder to draft you two years ago?

“I didn't know what to expect. There were so many rumors going around as far as¸ ‘Daniel Orton could drop into the second round.' There was even talk about ‘Daniel Orton might turn out to be a lottery pick.' I shut down all that early on and said¸ ‘You know¸ wherever I end up¸ I know it's God's plan and I'll make the most of it.' ”

What did you learn from Dwight Howard in Orlando?

“Dwight taught me a lot of things. It was a combination of Dwight¸ (assistant coach) Pat Ewing and most of all (coach) Stan Van Gundy. Me going to Stan Van Gundy my first two years was a blessing. I learned how to play defense and help defense better than I had known before.”

A blessing? Even though Van Gundy didn't play you?

“Even though he didn't play me. His philosophy, the way he does everything. Stan is, by far, the best coach I've ever played for as far as X's and O's. I really appreciate what Stan did. … He shoots straight. He'll tell you the truth. He'll tell you the truth about everything. He doesn't sugarcoat anything. He's going to tell you the full truth on everything.”

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