No. 5: Immanuel Quickley should play more
If you’re sensing a trend, it’s that the Knicks have way too many talented guards and not enough reliable frontcourt players; in that sense, signing Donte DiVincenzo instead of a forward in free agency could lead to rotation issues. Even so, the Knicks need to make sure they carve out a solid role for Immanuel Quickley this season.
We just discussed the impact that Barrett had on the Knicks, hurting them on both offense and defense. Quickley has a very different impact, improving the Knicks by 8.5 points per 100 possessions when he takes the court, in the 91st percentile league-wide last season. That’s not a unique feat, either, as he has been +8 or better in each of his three seasons.
Quickley is long, athletic and savvy on defense, providing the Knicks with a solid point-of-attack option or even a long-limbed wing they can move onto wings. He’s not elite on offense but he is certainly solid, excelling in an off-ball role when Brunson and Randle were healthy and transitioning into an on-ball dynamo when they missed time. He is an excellent shooter and can fit into nearly any backcourt construction.
Whether they work out a contract extension to make Quickley their long-term third guard or, perhaps more likely, use him to trade for a star at another position, he needs to play more this season. His 28.9 minutes per game is inflated by the games he played without Brunson (who missed 14 games last season); he’s playing low-20s when Brunson suits up. That number needs to be higher, although with Brunson, DiVincenzo and Quentin Grimes to fit in, things certainly get crowded….err, quickly.
The Knicks probably need a trade to help alleviate their roster imbalance, but for now, their best players are crowded into the backcourt and they need to find a way to play them, despite the size disadvantage. Quickley leads the way for players who need to have a larger role next season.