Kyle O'Quinn immediately became a fan favorite back in summer league. He went toe to toe with top-10 pick Andre Drummond and declared, I don't care when you got picked. O'Quinn set the tone as a player who was going to work hard and grind in the lown post. The kind of player every team needs at some point.
His stat line of 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in limited minutes were modest. He had a double double against the Knicks in a return to his native New York and then another against the Bobcats a few weeks later. It was great to see O'Quinn take advantage of the opportunity when it was presented to him.
Unfortunately, the life of a second round pick is done on a year-to-year basis. As good as O'Quinn was, his future with the Magic is dependent on a lot of things — free agent acquisitions, draft picks, training camp work out.
O'Quinn will certainly be with the team in training camp in October. He seems likely to play in Summer League again for the Magic too.
O'Quinn embraced the Magic's youth movement and the opportunity to improve in low-stakes games. O'Quinn told Bob Molinaro of The Virginian-Pilot that the learning was the key for him during his rookie season:
We could do nothing but grow. It was one of those years where you couldn't do too much wrong. I'm not saying we enjoyed losing, but every day you learned something.
That was indeed the point of the season for the Magic at this stage of the team's rebuilding. O'Quinn did not play much at the beginning of the season as he learned the finers points of the NBA game. But he showed that grit and a feathery touch from the perimeter as the season went on. The Magic surely want to see how he develops and continues to grow.
Magic fans certainly appreciated O'Quinn's efforts. He won the team's Aleve Hustle Player of the Year award, as voted on by the fans.
O'Quinn will have a lot of work to do this summer to continue his development and improvement. Just like every other Magic player. It will be interesting to see how he comes into Summer League and what improvements he has made.