(“The Gallery” is an end-of-season series featuring one uniquely titled picture or video installation for every player that best summarizes or encapsulates that player’s season in a single snapshot. These aren’t highlights, they’re seminal moments expressed through the medium of art placards. Enjoy your tour!)
Center, Age 29
Capitol One Arena
Exploring the very act of hustle, Mad Respect offers an expressionist view of Kyle O’Quinn’s efforts to exude professionalism at a particular moment in time. Filling-in for an injured Myles Turner on the second night of a back-to-back on the road, Indiana’s break-glass-in-case-of-emergency big man could not be deterred from chasing down every loose ball in sight. Like a raging rhinoceros with its head down and long-horn pointed, O’Quinn charged through two Wizards beard-first for a back tap and then moments later threw his body into the crowd to maintain yet another possession.
Here’s what really stands out about those extra effort plays, though: His energy stores. Despite the fact that he had logged less than 25 total minutes of action over the eight games prior to this particular back-to-back set, O’Quinn still had the stamina to play his guts out during the third quarter of a game in which he had played 9-consecutive minutes as a temp-starter. Rather than looking like he needed to strap on an oxygen tank, he was his team’s oxygen tank.
That said, staying ready seemed to come easier to him than staying on the floor. Pump fakes were a constant source of temptation in Turner’s absence against Boston, and he racked up fouls in such a hurry against Dallas and Minnesota that Thaddeus Young was forced to step-in at nominal five. On the season, O’Quinn was whistled for 6.6 fouls per 36 minutes, the second-worst rate among the 403 players who logged at least 300 minutes.
Assuming they keep both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers can’t offer the 6-year veteran a bigger role than the one he accepted last summer when he reportedly had eyes for the Golden State Warriors, and they’ll likely prioritize maximizing their cap space over competing with rival offers; but, for what he did during his one-year stint in the honorary seat of Al Jefferson (finding cutters from the pinch-post was his equivalent of schooling youngsters on low-blocks!) ...