Kyle O'Quinn 2018-19 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Kyle O'Quinn's 2018-19 season.

Kyle O'Quinn 2019 Player Review

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Kyle O'Quinn 2018-19 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Kyle O'Quinn's 2018-19 season.
May 1, 2019  |  01:00

Player Review 2019: Kyle O'Quinn

by Mark Montieth Writer

Age: 29
Years Pro: 7
Status: Free agent
Key Stats: Played in 45 games for an average of 8.2 minutes. Averaged 3.5 points on 51 percent shooting and 2.6 rebounds.

He was warned that playing time would be scarce, and he understood. He knew he would be joining a team with two established centers in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and would have to settle for a few scraps of minutes here and there, the leftovers in garbage time, unless an injury intervened.

But he could be forgiven for expecting more than what he got.

Kyle O'Quinn signed with the Pacers last summer to get away from all the losses and ongoing uncertainties he had experienced in three seasons with the Knicks, and to get to a playoff team. He succeeded, but he played just 371 minutes — by far the fewest of his career and more than a thousand less than his previous season with New York, even less than his rookie season in Orlando, where as a second-round draft pick he played 638 minutes.

The Pacers, however, got what they expected from him. He maintained an upbeat attitude when he didn't play and usually played well when he did play — especially when he played enough minutes to get his heart rate up.

PHOTO GALLERY: Kyle O'Quinn's 2018-19 Season in Photos »

The quantity within O'Quinn's season's résumé wasn't impressive, but the quality was. When evaluated on a per-minute basis his stats didn't appear nearly as dull as his averages of 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds indicate. His per-36 minute scoring average (15.1) was the best of his seven-season career, as were his free throw percentage and assist average. He also was the Pacers' second-best rebounder on a per-minute basis, had the third-best assist percentage (measuring the number of field goals he assisted) and was the Pacers' fifth-most efficient player.

His performance is best judged by the games in which he played significant minutes. He started three games, although he only played 10 minutes in the regular season finale in Atlanta. The Pacers won all three, and he made solid contributions in the first two – eight points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes against New Orleans and eight points, six rebounds and five assists in 21 ½ minutes at Washington.

Kyle O'Quinn

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

He averaged 10 points and 6.5 rebounds in the eight games in which he played at least 15 minutes, and shot 58 percent from the field. For highlights, he had 16 points and eight rebounds in 18 ½ minutes in the season's third game against Brooklyn, when Sabonis was injured, and 12 points and 10 rebounds in a 22-point victory at Orlando on Dec. 7. He played 27 ½ minutes in that game because Sabonis did not play and Turner was limited to 27 ½ minutes by foul trouble and fit seamlessly into the flow.

The 6-foot-11 O'Quinn has a wide-ranging skillset. He can score around the basket, he's an accurate shooter out to 20 feet, he gets his share of rebounds and blocked shots and he's an outstanding passer. He also takes pride in sacrificing his body to set screens for teammates, the primary selling point he had for Kevin Pritchard when he came for his mutual recruiting visit last summer.

He was one of the best third-string centers in the league last season, and seems capable of holding down a backup role as a rotational player on a winning team if given the opportunity. Given another level of athleticism, he could be a starter.

Regardless of when or whether he played, O'Quinn earned his salary for the effort he put into practice and the spirit he showed in games. He was the guy playing a scrimmage with the other end-of-bench guys and staff members after practice to stay sharp. He occasionally was the guy running after practice to maintain his conditioning. He was the guy greeting the starters in front of the scorer's table as they took the court for the opening tipoff. And, he appeared to be one of the team's most valuable communicators.

"He's the best locker room guy I've been around," Doug McDermott said early in the season, reflecting on the partial season he had played with O'Quinn in New York a year earlier. "He's one of those guys who can make anything funny at any time."

It's hard to tell if O'Quinn can find humor, or even satisfaction, in his role this past season. A free agent this summer, he likely will have options. With Turner and Sabonis returning, playing time could be just as difficult to come by next season, although backup minutes could be available if Turner and Sabonis play together for longer stretches.

Time will tell if he's asked to return with a new contract, or wants to. But for one season at least, O'Quinn fulfilled his role admirably.

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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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