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Oklahoma City Thunder roundtable: Evaluating Daniel Orton's season

The Oklahoman's staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Daniel Orton.
By John Rohde Published: May 30, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma City's Daniel Orton (33) defends as Chicago's Nazr Mohammed (48) defends during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Daniel Orton (33) defends as Chicago's Nazr Mohammed (48) defends during the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Tramel: I assume not but it's not a silly question. Somebody has to be.

3. Should he have stayed at Kentucky more than one season?

Mayberry: Generally, I always side with players when they decide to leave school early, even if my initial reaction to some leaving might be something along the lines of “man, that's stupid.” But, really, who am I to sit up here and say a 19- or 20-year-old should put a multi-million dollar salary on hold? That window of earning power is so short in an athlete's life that I believe you have to take the opportunity when you have it. Maybe Daniel wasn't ready, physically, mentally or emotionally. Who knows? But with all due respect to the Kentucky program, there was nothing John Calipari and Josh Harrellson could have taught Orton that Patrick Ewing and Dwight Howard couldn't. And even though Orton fell to the bottom of the first round, much lower than he could have been selected, he earned more than $2 million for his first two seasons. That's two years worth of money and experience he never would have been able to recoup had he stayed.

Rohde: Depends if Orton wanted to win a national title, which Kentucky did last year in what would have been his junior season. Then again, Orton would have been hard-pressed to even start at UK had he stayed. DeMarcus Cousins' departure for the 2010 draft (the same year as Orton) led to the pending arrivals of future No. 1 pick Anthony Davis in 2012 and potential No. 1 pick Nerlens Noel next month.

Tramel: I don't see why, unless he wanted a degree really bad, and I know of no evidence for that. Guys get better on an NBA practice squad than they do on an NCAA champion. He might have been drafted higher, but maybe not, either. Here's the deal. Most of these 19- and 20-year-olds want to be in the NBA. They don't want to be on college campuses. The sooner we clear campuses of people who don't want to be there, the better.


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