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Missing In Action: Philadelphia 76ers Center Daniel Orton

After a solid November in which he showed flashes of being a competent back-up NBA center, Daniel Orton has all but disappeared from Brett Brown's rotation through six games in December.

This is Daniel Orton on a basketball court, in case you forgot what that looks like.
This is Daniel Orton on a basketball court, in case you forgot what that looks like.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the 2013-14 season, those who follow the NBA know exactly what a "Hinkie Guy" is: someone who has loads of potential that he didn't realize in a previous location and is still young enough to transform into a valuable commodity. Since Sam Hinkie took over as the Sixers GM this summer, he acquired five former first-round picks in James Anderson, Tony Wroten, Daniel Orton, Royce White and the newest -- one Liberty Ballers writer's favorite -- Delaware 87er, Kendall Marshall.

Obviously, White was cut from the team before the opening night and we've yet to witness what Kendall Marshall can do in a Sixers uniform -- and frankly, we may never -- but Brett Brown has been able to get a lot out of all three of Anderson, Wroten and Orton. Now six games into December, Wroten has thrived in the starting point guard spot with Michael Carter-Williams sidelined with a knee injury and Anderson has been a somewhat effective "3-and-D" player off the bench. But Daniel Orton has been a complete and total afterthought in the final month of 2013.

Following the team's 106-99 loss at Minnesota, a game in which Orton received a good, old-fashioned Kwame DNP, the big man is averaging just 4.6 minutes per game in the five games he's seen action this month. To make matters worse, the only other player on the Sixers roster to not record a minute against the Wolves was the infected Carter-Williams.

It's suddenly very hard to remember the double-double Orton hung on the Eastern Conference-best Indiana Pacers on Nov. 23. In that surprisingly close Sixers loss, Orton scored 10 points while grabbing 10 rebounds and adding 2 blocks in 36 minutes of action. Keep in mind, Orton posted those numbers after starting and battling with Roy Hibbert the entire contest.

That Indiana game was arguably Orton's best of November, topping off a month in which he averaged 3.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 14.8 minutes a game. That production is good for roughly 9 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks per 36 minutes.

There haven't been any reports on why Orton has been stapled to the bench and Brett Brown is suddenly playing Brandon Davies a ton. Perhaps Hinkie wants to see more of Davies before he decides to move on to the next prospect he's been eyeing and Orton has simply already solidified his place in the Sixers plans for 2014-15.

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