9. Kyle O’Quinn
Kyle O’Quinn comes into this season with a clear goal and clear role. In the Philadelphia 76ers’ free agent introductory press conference, O’Quinn said winning is the most important thing to him at this point in his career. Music to the ears of fans and the organization as that indicates he has bought into the Sixers’ culture.
O’Quinn is a much needed presence on the Sixers bench. The big man will be anchoring the team’s second unit defense, replacing guys like Amir Johnson, Boban Marjanovic and Greg Monroe. His role of backup center is vital to the team’s postseason run. The 29-year-old will be assisting in keeping Joel Embiid and Al Horford healthy with fresh legs for April, May, and hopefully June.
As a veteran in this NBA, O’Quinn is a great fit because of just that and his skill set on the court. O’Quinn brings his toughness, defense, rim protecting, rebounding, and just a touch of scoring to the Philly bench. In his best season with the New York Knicks, O’Quinn averaged 19 minutes, 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 58.3 percent shooting.
O’Quinn is primed to pick up the same amount of minutes with the Sixers due to the team choosing him as the backup center. I feel like it is fair to predict that he won’t average the career-high in points he achieved with the Knicks due to the staggering of starters’ minutes like Josh Richardson, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris who will take up the scoring load. As mentioned O’Quinn will bring defense and that’s vital. The team doesn’t need witness another historically bad two minute plus/minus in such a crucial game like Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors.
Don’t let the GIF created lack of defense demonstrated by O’Quinn on Joel Embiid last season while with the Indiana Pacers fool you. O’Quinn is a solid backup center who the team can expect to play defense, rebound, and play hard. O’Quinn even won the NBA’s Hustle Player of the Year Award in 2012-13 to solidify how hard he plays night in night out.
Seven seasons in the league and he’s been on three teams. It seems like now O’Quinn may have found his best stop yet and the Sixers picked up a valuable role player. The Philadelphia 76ers needed a veteran, physical, defensive minded center and Kyle O’Quinn needed a championship caliber team to lend his services to. The two sides are fully ready to start the season and we’ll have to see if O’Quinn fits in. I can only imagine that he does.