Many of the Knicks’ key players struggled to perform at their usual level in the team’s 108-104 loss to the Boston Celtics, but Immanuel Quickley was one of the few bright spots in New York’s season opener.
Entering a contract year with the Knicks, Immanuel Quickley is already proving his worth. Last Monday was the deadline for rookie extensions, and despite his breakout as one of the league’s best sixth men the season prior, Quickley did not receive a new deal from New York.
Quickley is now looking to increase his value heading into restricted free agency next summer, and he’s certainly gotten off to a strong start.
In a game where almost all Knicks players struggled to score efficiently against the Celtics’ defense (or against the rim), Quickley scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out four assists while shooting 7-11 from the field and 5-7 from three.
It started in the second quarter when, down by 12 points, Quickley hit a three to give the Knicks some momentum. He continued to chip away at Boston’s lead, knocking down another three and a pair of free throws. It was a five-point game by halftime, which personally I was okay with, though the Knicks’ actual offensive play aside from Quickley was painful to watch.
Moving on to the third quarter, Quickley scored six points but the Celtics were still up nine heading into the final period. But don’t worry; it didn’t take long for that deficit to be erased. Quickley caught fire, knocking down two clutch triples and a floater. I know Mike Breen wouldn’t have done it unless it was a game-winner, but trust me when I say I was yelling “bang” in my living room.
This run gave the Knicks their first lead of the night with two minutes remaining, but Boston would come right back and win the game due to some woeful free-throw shooting by New York and an incorrect flopping call on Jalen Brunson, which the refs later admitted was the wrong call.
Immanuel Quickley is already proving worthy of a new deal from the Knicks
While there’s much for Knicks fans to look back on from this game and be ashamed of (16 missed free throws!) Quickley’s performance should provide some encouragement for what’s to come this season.
I mean, think about it: the team’s two best players, Jalen Brunson, and Julius Randle, shot a combined 11-for-43, and yet it was still a four-point game against one of the league’s best teams thanks to New York’s depth.
I get that it’s only one game and I shouldn’t overreact, but I’m going to anyway because of how impressive Quickley was. He displayed that he could single-handedly generate offense when nothing else was working, and Tom Thibodeau recognized this, keeping him in the game for the entire fourth quarter.
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As long as Thibodeau continues to reward Quickley with the opportunities he deserves, which you can be sure Quickley will take full advantage of, IQ doesn’t need to be a starter to be one of the Knicks’ best players and earn the deal he’s looking for next summer. Long story short, Leon Rose better be prepared to pay up.