In 2012 Kyle O’Quinn was one of the Cinderella superstars of the NCAA Tournament. O’Quinn led his 15th seeded Norfolk State team to a stunning victory over second seeded Missouri Tigers. O’Quinn finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds in the Spartans huge win and even though O’Quinn and his teammates fell to Florida in the second round of the tournament, O’Quinn made a name for himself.
After being selected 49th overall by the Magic, O’Quinn carved out some playing time thanks to his energy, hustle, and drive. He emerged as a solid rebounded and a good passer. Last season O’Quinn started 19 games and averaged 17 minutes, 6 points and 5 rebounds per game, all while shooting more than 50 percent from the floor.
This season O’Quinn has continued to show his improvement. At this juncture in the season, O’Quinn is 9th in the NBA in PER (Player Efficiency Rating), a statistical to track a players per minute contribution.
While O’Quinn is only playing 19 minutes per game, two more than last season, he has increased his scoring average to 10.1 and his rebound total to 5.1 per contest. With O’Quinn off the court the Magic’s plus/minus is -5.9. Not surprisingly, the Magic are much better defensively with O’Quinn on the floor.
O’Quinn’s size and strength make him a formidable defender, think a poor-man’s Draymond Green. The Magic are better defensively from 5-9 feet, 10-14 feet, and 15-19 feet with O’Quinn on the floor.
The Magic are also better offensively with him on the floor, while they shoot similar percentages, the Magic score a much higher percentage of shots as a result of an assist which is a testament to the floor spacing that O’Quinn helps to provide the Magic with.
The Magic currently sit in the 9 seed of the Eastern Conference at 9-16 seem destined to be back in the lottery come June. But with a young core of Victor Oladipo, Elfred Peyton, Aaron Gordon, and Nikolai Vucevic coupled with the steady play of O’Quinn look for the Magic’s continuous improvement.