The New York Knicks have been getting solid play from the majority of their roster in the midst of what is currently a 9-game winning streak, and 23-year old guard Immanuel Quickley has been no exception. His defensive influence and offensive output deserves proper praise when considering how New York has competed.
Quickley came up clutch during Sunday night’s overtime win in Boston against the Celtics. The Kentucky product started in place of Jalen Brunson who was out due to left foot soreness, and put up a career-high 38 points along with 8 boards and 7 assists. New York head coach Tom Thibodeau was sure to give Quickley credit for his play.
“It was a huge performance by him,” Thibodeau told the New York Post. “He stepped up, made big plays, big shots, made a lot of great defense.”
Sunday’s outing was not surprising to those who have followed the Knicks this year. Quickley has been getting it done on both ends of the court. He’s averaging 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists this season. According to the on/off stats offered by Cleaning the Glass, Quickley ranks in the 99th percentile in terms of defensive points per possession. In other words he’s been extremely good at limiting opposing players’ ability to score, especially on the perimeter.
“He can guard multiple positions. He’s gotten a lot stronger,” Thibodeau told the New York Post. “But I also think his understanding of the league, knowing what teams are trying to get to, his ability to think ahead, [is important]. He’s very good at thinking on his feet.”
IQ has been a Garden favorite since he burst onto the scene during the 2020/2021 season, but has seemingly reached another level. He’s averaging the highest field goal percentage of his young career while taking the most shots per game of his tenure. All of this comes just months after the Knicks considered dealing Quickley for draft capital and mere months before he is set to become eligible for a contract extension.
As the Knicks continue to work their way up the Eastern Conference ladder, Quickley has drawn legitimate 6th Man of the Year buzz. Regardless, the Maryland native is primarily concerned with the win column.
“For me, honestly, it really all comes down to winning,” he told the New York Post. “You don’t win, no one gets awards. So, honestly, I really don’t even focus on it too much. I focus on it day to day, trying to get better, and if I win Sixth Man of the Year, then I win Sixth Man of the Year.”