Kyle O’Quinn does not care when you were drafted, how highly touted you are or anything else. When you are on the court with him, all that matters is how hard you want to work to beat him. Because, through the first two games of his career, O’Quinn seems ready to work harder than his opponent.
Matching up against Andre Drummond — a top high school recruit and top-10 pick taken after his freshman year from Connecticut — this four-year starter for tiny Norfolk State held no quarter. He stared Drummond in the face and certainly seemed to beat him.
O’Quinn had 11 points and six rebounds, outplaying Drummond who had three points and three rebounds. O’Quinn was a bull around the basket, doing the little things and nitty gritty work that translates long past Summer League. He is already gaining quite the following among Magic fans. This performance in an ugly Summer League game will help him firmly secure a roster spot and perhaps a contract.
This game though was not a pretty affair. It was hardly the fluid effort that the Magic displayed in the first game against the Nets on Monday.
Austin Daye was the real star, scoring 24 points, and Kyle Singler added 12 points in Detroit’s 79-74 win over Orlando.
The Magic’s offense really struggled to hit shots after a 50-percent performance in the first game. Orlando made only 40.9 percent of its shots and were just 1 for 13 from beyond the arc, including an air balled 3-pointer from Justin Harper with the Magic down four late in the game. It was just not a great offensive day. Throw on top of that 16 turnovers and 22 personal fouls (leading to 26 free throws) and it was a typically sloppy summer league game.
The buzz and good feelings from seeing fresh faces playing so well faded pretty quickly.
There was still plenty to be impressed with. DeAndre Liggins was strong defensively and started to show flashes offensively again. Maalik Wayns was great at penetrating into the lane and creating for others — although he did not do it nearly as efficiently with three assists and three turnovers. He also continued to struggle to shoot with a 4-for-11 shooting performance although he had a really fun dunk on the fast break. Not as fun as the one Miami product Dequan Jones put down.
Andrew Nicholson was again solid, showing his post game and the improvements he still needs to make as a post defender. Nicholson led the team with 13 points and six rebounds.
O’Quinn was certainly Tuesday’s star though. He was active around the basket and stepped out and hit a few jumpers even. He continues to show a lot of promise and potential. Yes, it is just Summer League. But Orlando has to like the talent it is collecting.