The NY Knicks got back on track Monday in a comeback win over the Indiana Pacers and sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley was a big reason why.
New York had been on a downward turn, losing 4 of their previous 5 games before taking on a red-hot Pacers team.
The Knicks were playing from behind for most of the game until a 4th quarter comeback fueled by the team’s second unit rallied them to victory. We saw RJ Barrett and Julius Randle come back into the game late but closed with Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose, and Immanuel Quickley.
NY Knicks: Is Immanuel Quickley too good to be limited?
This was always a possibility.
In the preseason, I wrote about how this situation could arise at any moment this season. For you football fans out there, I compared this situation to the New Orleans Saints backfield a few years ago, which featured Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram, and a rookie Alvin Kamara.
Peterson and Ingram were both still effective running backs and ahead of the young Kamara on the depth chart, but as the season progressed, it became clear that Kamara’s talent couldn’t be kept on the shelf.
Quickley is starting to play himself into a similar situation.
We all know about the shooting. Not just as a catch-and-shooter, but as someone who breaks their defender down and hits ridiculous long-distance shots that only a few others in the league can.
- 48.8% FG
- 56.0% 3P
- 66.7% pull-up 3P
- 50.0% unassisted FG
Those last two percentages indicate just how much of a sparkplug Quickley has been.
It’s been more than that, though. Quickley’s metrics as a playmaker have been far more efficient — his assist-to-usage ratio and assist-to-turnover ratio have been much improved from last season.
His strides as a playmaker have been important and they especially shine when he’s at the 2-guard position alongside Derrick Rose. A backcourt of Rose and Quickley, with RJ Barrett and Julius Randle on the wings, gives your team an abundance of tools on offense. Speed, shooting, playmaking, and most importantly, defense.
The NY Knicks defense has been lacking this season and maybe they’re starting to realize that maybe, just maybe, Immanuel Quickley is one of their best perimeter defenders. Perimeter defense is noticeably improved when he’s on the floor.
His long reach, quickness, and commitment to the defensive philosophy showed up in their win over the Pacers. The NY Knicks defense, for the first time in a long time, was suffocating down the stretch.
I still don’t expect the starting lineup to change, but maybe the NY Knicks found their new closing lineup? Having Quickley out there with the starters is a handful for defenses.
Make no mistake: Just because he isn’t on a worse team and hasn’t gotten the significant playing time, don’t think Immanuel Quickley doesn’t deserve to be talked about in the same conversation as the Tyrese Haliburtons and Cole Anthonys of the 2020 draft. His time is coming soon.