Via Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic
Amidst all the hoopla surrounding Dwight Howard’s future with the Orlando Magic, newly hired general manager Rob Hennigan began the process of shaping the franchise in his own image by drafting Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn in last week’s NBA Draft. Nicholson was selected with the No. 19 pick in the first round, while O’Quinn was chosen with the No. 49 pick in the second round.
You can excuse Magic fans if they know little to nothing about Nicholson and O’Quinn. Both went to unheralded schools (St. Bonaventure and Norfolk State respectively) to play college basketball and even though they each played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, with O’Quinn and No. 15 seed Norfolk State making noise by upsetting No. 2 seed Missouri in the second round, neither player has the national profile of an Anthony Davis entering the NBA.
Enter Sebastian Pruiti of Grantland, Brett Koremenos of HoopSpeak, and Alton Clark of NBA Playbook. They’ll shed light on what Nicholson and O’Quinn bring to the table and what their ceilings might be in the league.
What is Nicholson’s ceiling as a player?
Alton Clark, NBA Playbook: What Nicholson will immediately provide to the Magic will be his ability to pop off of ball screens. According to Synergy Sports Techology, Nicholson was the 2nd most efficient shooter amongst all post players in the 2012 NBA Draft (1.096 points per possession). With Ryan Anderson, Glen Davis, and Nicholson, the Magic will have three legit bigs who can stretch the floor with their shooting.
Brett Koremenos, HoopSpeak: Nicholson’s ceiling could be very similar to a potential teammate of his; Ryan Anderson. While Nicholson holds a slight edge as an athlete, both pair a smooth outside stroke with excellent rebounding numbers — a rather efficient combination. He’ll likely never be a star, but a solid starter on a good team is definitely possible.
Sebastian Pruiti, Grantland: I’m pretty high on Nicholson and his post game. He’s got a good body, a very nice touch around the basket, and solid footwork. For my Grantland article looking at his game, I described him as a smaller Al Jefferson. It might take a year or two, but he could be a guy you can dump the ball into and expect a bucket.
What is O’Quinn’s ceiling as a player?
Clark: O’Quinn will be called upon to bring toughness and physicality on the offensive end for the Magic frontline. At 6-foot-10, O’Quinn might be deemed a tad bit undersized for his style of play, but his 7-foot-5 wingspan will help him compete against taller posts in the league. If utilized correctly, O’Quinn can be a more interior-oriented DeMarcus Cousins.
Koremenos: I don’t see much that tells me O’Quinn has what it takes to stick in the league. Despite decent size and length, he is a middling athlete with a poor feel for the game who basically made his name off two monster performances in the NCAA Tournament. At best, O’Quinn has a makes a career as a fourth or fifth big on whichever roster will have him.
Pruiti: I’ve seen O’Quinn twice in person (once at Portsmouth, where he was the MVP, and once at the Nets’ workouts) and he performed pretty well both times. He’s more of a below the rim guy than someone who can explode through a defender and finish with a big dunk. Not the worst thing, but that limits what he can become in my opinion.
Hennigan felt that Nicholson and O’Quinn were the best players available when the Magic selected them. Agree or disagree?
Clark: Agree. When it comes to acquiring talent, both the Spurs and the Thunder place an emphasis on high character and being able to contribute immediately. It is no coincidence that in Hennigan’s first draft as the Magic’s general manager, he picked two 22-year-old college graduates from mid-major programs who were the primary focal point of their opponent’s scouting report every night.
Koremenos: Agree. Perhaps Quincy Miller was worth considering over Nicholson at No. 19 but it certainly was far from something widely viewed as an egregious oversight. O’Quinn seemed like a solid choice near the end of the second round. Definitely hard to fault the selection of a kid with the size to stick when pickings are so slim.
Pruiti: Agree. Orlando needed bigs, especially because of the whole Dwight Howard situation, and in my opinion Orlando got two good ones who should be able to be productive on their roster.