Immanuel Quickley is having arguably the largest quiet impact for this New York Knicks team this season.
When you think of NBA rookies and the Knicks in the same sentence, you probably think of them selecting Obi Toppin with the 8th pick in 2020. While Toppin hasn’t lived up to the hype this season, their second first round pick has.
Quickley is averaging 12 points, two rebounds and two assists off the bench in 19 minutes per game this season. He isn’t the most efficient shooter, as he is shooting 38% from the field. However, he is shooting a decent 38% from three.
Quickley is also hitting 90% of his free throws, and his range opens up the floor whenever he takes the court.
The Knicks don’t use Quickley as a go-to guy to takeover and win games. But his presence has been felt throughout the year, and he has been clutch at times on the offensive end.
Providing Value in a Crowded Rotation
— Rebecca Haarlow (@RebeccaHaarlow) April 21, 2021
A good problem that the Knicks have is they have a packed rotation. They obviously don’t have any superstars, but they have a solid group of players alongside RJ Barrett and Julius Randle who fight hard and play defense all game, every game.
Quickley fits in right with this group, and is quietly providing points off the bench in a way fans might not even notice.
In the Knicks’ 54 games, Quickley has scored double digits in 29 of them. He has scored 10-19 points in 19 games and 20-29 points in nine games. And of course, he dropped 31 points in a crazy game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Knicks offense opens up when he is in the game. He may not always shoot, but defenses have to worry about him when he is drifting along that three-point line.
When I wrote a Knicks draft recap article back in November, I mentioned this regarding Quickley:
“With those off-ball talents clogging the paint, having a guy who can let it rain from downtown and also hit his free throws will be a key asset this Knicks squad hasn’t had in many years.”
Has this not been the case with Quickley this season?
Quickley’s permanent role on the Knicks isn’t quite clear yet as his rookie year is winding down. He is a quality scorer in the NBA, without a doubt. He fits the pace of today’s game, hits his free throws and he plays defense. A very hard-working player at only 21 years old.
I don’t think he is however, the pass-first facilitator the Knicks have needed to run the offense. Thinking long term, I think Quickley can turn into an excellent version of a Lou Williams-type of sixth man off the bench.
That automatic scoring in the second unit with him eventually being on the court late in the game with the starters sounds great to me.
The Knicks are in a great spot as a team, and as an organization. Randle will most likely take home Most Improved Player, and Barrett isn’t too far behind. Tom Thibodeau is a favorite for Coach of the Year , and Quickley is a top 10 finalist for Rookie of the Year.
In one year, they have gone from hopeless in the bottom of the East all the way up to potentially hosting playoff games at Madison Square Garden.
Quickley has been a big part of this transition, and he is only a rookie. The future is bright for him and the Knicks, and I’m really excited about it.