The New York Knicks are looking to get back into this year’s draft and the Celtics need help in their front court
At the moment the New York Knicks aren’t in the 2016 NBA Draft, however, they hope that changes. According to ESPN, The Knicks have expressed interest in trading into the late first round or second round. No players were named in regards to who could be on the move, however, the Knicks are trying to bulk up their back court as they have a lot of depth in the front court.
The Knicks are eyeing Wayne Selden and Yogi Ferrell if they trade into the second round but are hopeful in landing Malachi Richardson or Isaiah Whitehead if they’re able to land a late first round pick. Obviously the Celtics have been involved in rumors since they own eight draft picks in the upcoming draft and need front court help.
Kristaps Porzingis and Robin Lopez are seemingly safe, however, the Knicks have a lot of quality bench players who could help the Celtics. Derrick Williams played a big role on the Knicks last season, although the Celtics should eye another big man.
Kyle O’Quinn, the fourth-year player out of Norfolk State only appeared in 65 games for New York last season. His minutes fluctuated and it led to a deflated stat line, however, he still has a lot of potential and is only owed around $4 million in each of the next three seasons.
I doubt Boston would let go of a first round pick to acquire O’Quinn, but the Celtics could trade the 35th pick, and possibly one more, to land the big man.
He’s not a name that many people know but O’Quinn would be a great addition for Boston. Not only would his 6’10” and 250 pound build add great size to the Celtics’ front court, but, he is still young and budding with potential as he looks for consistent minutes.
So far during his career O’Quinn has not seen a lot of playing time. He has never sniffed 20 minutes per game and was in and out of the rotation under Kurt Rambis in New York last season.
O’Quinn posted 4.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 11.8 minutes per game. It doesn’t seem impressive at first glance but his per 36 minute averages is why the Knicks inked him to a four-year deal last summer; 14.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
His 4.9 block percentage would have ranked sixth in the NBA this past season, if he qualified, according to Basketball Reference. O’Quinn would have ranked ahead of players like Anthony Davis, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka. He’s not a guy who is known for his amazing blocks, but he’s quietly a force down low.
Not to mention his work on the glass – that goes unnoticed as well. O’Quinn has averaged at least 11 rebounds per 36 minutes in three of his four NBA seasons, including averaging 1.2 offensive rebounds per game this past season. For a big man who runs the floor well, he could be an asset to the Celtics on fastbreaks. He may not finish a lot of them but he can clean up misses and create extra opportunities.
He’s not a rim protector and O’Quinn isn’t going to eat up boards, however, he’s a big body down low and the Celtics don’t have that. He may not put up huge numbers but he does the dirty work and little things that go unnoticed.
On offense, O’Quinn is the big man the Celtics are missing. Kyle O’Quinn can score in many ways, and the Celtics are missing versatility on offense from their front court. He shot 63 percent from inside of three feet but also 48.8 percent from 10-16 feet away and 43.9 percent from 16 feet to the three-point line, flashing his mid-range game.
With that being said O’Quinn isn’t going to take players off the dribble often and isn’t a post-up player. He thrives on getting open looks and knocking down shots. In fact, 38.4 percent of his shots came from 16 feet and beyond. He would be a great addition alongside Isaiah Thomas as he’s a better pick-and-roll option than Jared Sullinger who only shot 35.1 percent from 10-16 feet out.
Kyle O’Quinn’s availability will depend on how much new head coach Jeff Hornacek wants to incorporate him into the gameplan next season. With Derrick Williams owning a player option and Kevin Seraphin‘s deal expiring, they may want to hold onto him. Although, he didn’t seem like a fit for their offense last season as he never was a consistent part of the rotation.
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He never put up great numbers but he constantly proved he’s a very good bench player, he just needs more minutes. Kurt Rambis didn’t know how to incorporate him into his offense but it didn’t stop O’Quinn as he finished the season with six straight five-plus rebound games.
Obviously he’s not a starting caliber player, however, he has the potential to become one of the most efficient bench players in the league. He can defend, score in multiple ways and rebounds at a great rate. Teams want bench players who are efficient and can impact the game in multiple ways, not just someone who puts up big numbers.
The Celtics need a big body down low who isn’t flashy but does the dirty work and O’Quinn is that type of player. He’s waiting for his breakout season and that should happen when he sees consistent minutes and playing time.
A couple of second round picks, that would be used on draft-and-stash players, would be more than worth it to trade for a big man with the versatility O’Quinn has. Besides, his $4 million a year contract could become a steal, like many people expect, if he’s able to transform into the bench player people envision.