The Orlando Magic were clearly the less superior team to the Houston Rockets on Sunday when the two teams faced off. Not only have the Rockets have much more success in the 2013-14 NBA season thus far than the Magic, but Orlando was also without Nikola Vucevic again, who’s dealing with a sprained ankle.
The result of the contest ended up being about what you’d expect. The young Magic team put up a good fight, but ultimately didn’t have enough firepower to match up with Houston, even when the Rockets weren’t particularly at their best. However, one of the surprising things, particularly with Vucevic out, was that second-year big man Kyle O’Quinn saw the floor for only one minute on the night.
Over the first nine games of the season, O’Quinn notched double-digit minutes in all but one of those contests. He then notched four straight DNPs due to an ankle injury and hasn’t played more than nine minutes in a game since then.
O’Quinn may still be dealing with some after-effects of that ankle injury, but that doesn’t change the fact that he should be seeing the floor more, at least as a reserve. In his time one the floor this season, it’s not like he hasn’t been productive. In 11.5 minutes per game, he’s still been able to put up four points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game on solid 51.2 percent shooting.
One of the biggest reasons O’Quinn needs to see the floor, though, is for this team’s future. Veteran Jason Maxiell played 18 minutes on Sunday night while O’Quinn played only the one. While that may make this team worse now, that doesn’t help them going forward. O’Quinn has leaps more upside than a veteran player like Maxiell and needs time and minutes to develop his skills so that he can help this team down the road. If the Magic don’t realize that soon, it’ll be a mistake on their part.