Have Kyle O’Quinn and Derrick Williams Fallen Out of Favor?


After the first week of the season, the media typically locked into an idea that was too soon. Kyle O’Quinn was to be Robin Lopez’s primary backup and Derrick Williams was the sixth man.

Through the first six games of the seasons Kyle O’Quinn played an average of 19.2 MPG and scored 8 PPG. Since then he has played an average of just 9.4 MPG in five games, scoring a total of 13 points.

It’s not like his play has dipped. He is still shooting over 47% from the field. His PER is sufficiently above the league average (15) at 18.31 and his per 36 numbers are still exceptional, per Basketball-Reference.com. When O’Quinn is on the court he is exceptional.

More from Knicks News

It’s a matter of him being passed over in the rotation for Lance Thomas and most recently Lou Amundson. Thomas is a former teammate of Derek Fisher and is clearly someone he trusts. That doesn’t mean he should be getting minutes at the expense of the promising free agent acquisition. In New York’s loss to Cleveland on Friday night, O’Quinn played just three minutes. Amundson played 20 minutes and missed his one attempted field goal. The six rebounds and two blocks that he picked up could have been picked up by O’Quinn if he had the same amount of time. Likely even more.

It hasn’t all been perfect for O’Quinn of course. According to NBA.com, he has only made 33% of his catch and shoot attempts. He is shooting just 29% on shots from within 3-10 feet of the basket.

O’Quinn has made up for it by shooting 50% on two-point FGAs that are more than 16 feet from the basket. He has lived up to his reputation as a good mid-range shooter. However, he hasn’t been on the court long enough to showcase his abilities. Through eleven games he has averaged 14.7 MPG. Last year in Orlando he played over 17 MPG. One of the reasons that the Queens native came to the Knicks was because he thought he would see the increased playing time he felt he deserved.

So far the Knicks have remained non-committal towards O’Quinn. They say you can see how your rotation will sincerely take shape after roughly twenty games. O’Quinn has plenty of time to play his way back into the rotation. Derrick Williams could be a different story.

In two of the Knicks last three games he has registered zero points. If it doesn’t look good for O’Quinn, then it looks bad for Williams. It’s likely that he hasn’t seen the court because he is shooting just 36% from the field 24% from behind the three point line, and the Knicks are -5.2 per 100 possessions with him on the court.

More from Daily Knicks

So who is the real Derrick Williams? The guy who played six minutes against the Pelicans on Sunday, or the guy who hung 24 on opening night against Milwaukee. Hopefully it’s somewhere in between. Although, it’s possible that Derrick Williams was a victim of his own success. Maybe Knicks’ fans were suckered into believing in the hype of the untapped potential of a former No. 2 overall pick. Even Bill Simmons went nuts over Williams’ opening night performance.

After his impressive preseason performance (16.2 PPG, 56 FG%) there was attention around Derrick Williams for the first time since his rookie debut. Since opening night, however, he has scored in the double-digits only once, shooting a putrid 31.6% from the field in the month of November. The improved three-point shot that we saw in the preseason was an apparition, as he is currently converting on just 24% of his attempts from downtown. Considering he shoots just 30% from that length for his career, the Knicks shouldn’t expect much of a change.

Williams’ greatest skill is his ability in the fast break. Considering the Knicks are dead last in the league in fast break points per game and 24th in the league in Pace factor those contributions have been negated. His team isn’t looking to push so why have their main fast break weapon out there?

With the Knicks a game below .500 and having come up short in multiple close games, Derek Fisher is bound to be doing more shuffling with his lineup.