With how the New York Knicks and Immanuel Quickley have looked recently, the discussion surrounding Quickley’s Sixth Man of the Year award candidacy has begun to surface, with many believing that the 23-year-old should be in the running to receive the trophy.
As difficult as it may be to put Quickley as the winner of the award over Malcolm Brogdon, you certainly can’t say he doesn’t have a case to potentially win it.
Quickley has been one of the best two-way bench players in the NBA this season and there are no doubts about that. His play has been vital for this Knicks team, with some fans deeming him the third-best player on the entire team, ahead of RJ Barrett.
Whether or not you agree with that, there is no doubt that without Quickley, this team is likely in a very different scenario than the one in which they are in currently.
Does Immanuel Quickley have a case to take home the Sixth Man of the Year trophy?
As things currently stand in the Sixth Man of the Year race, the only players I can confidently put over Immanuel Quickley are Malcolm Brogdon and Norman Powell. While there are certainly other players I would not argue with if someone were to put them ahead of Quickley, these two are the standouts.
Players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Malik Monk, Bobby Portis, and Bennedict Mathurin certainly have a case to be put over Quickley in the race, but the two-way ability he brings compared to these players makes me give him a slight edge.
Quickley has been one of the best defensive guards in the entire NBA this season, let alone those who come off the bench. Things such as this are what give him such a big push compared to some of the other players who may be slightly better offensively.
However, where things get tricky are with Brogdon and Powell, as I don’t think there is much of a case at all for Quickley to go over either of them. Through 67 games, Quickley is averaging 13.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 28.1 minutes. Alongside this, Quickley is shooting a career-high 44.2% from the field and 35.9% from three on 5.2 attempts per game.
How does Immanuel Quickley stack up against the competition?
As I mentioned before, the two players I would absolutely put over Quickley in the award race are Brogdon and Powell. These two players have been massive offensive options for two championship-contending teams and have been better than Quickley this season.
In 56 games with the Celtics, one of the best teams in the NBA, Brogdon has averaged 14.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 48.2% from the field and 45.2% from deep on 4.5 attempts per game.
Brogdon has been one of the most important players on one of the best teams in the league, the consistency he brings every night to the Celtics bench has been the difference maker for that team this season.
This is all because of the simple fact that the Celtics have been without a genuinely good backup point guard for a while now. At the very least, not one as consistent as Brogdon has been, this alone makes him the front-runner to receive the award.
On the other hand, Powell is in the same boat as Brogdon, as he is incredibly important to one of the top teams in the NBA. The Clippers may not have a bad bench, but they certainly don’t have a consistent scorer outside of Powell, which is why he’s such a big part of that team.
In 54 games this season, Powell is averaging 16.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting a highly efficient 47.5% from the field and 41% from deep on 4.9 attempts. Powell has been the third leading scorer for a contending team while coming off the bench behind Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Quickley may be a better defensive player than these two, however, the gap between them and Quickley offensively is far too large to make up for the defensive gap. It would be nice to see him take home the award, but he doesn’t stack up to these two tremendous players. Not yet, at least.