Knicks: What position maximizes Immanuel Quickley’s impact moving forward?

immanuel quickley, knicks

Through two games in the NBA Summer League thus far, the New York Knicks have given Immanuel Quickley the ability to shine as a point guard. He may have not had the best outing in their first contest, but he turned it around with an impressive performance against the Pacers on Tuesday with 32 points and 8 assists. Just take a look at some of these highlights:

What he’s proven in these two games is that he thrives as the primary ballhandler on the court, and most certainly equips the playmaking skills necessary to play the 1 in the NBA.  However, it’s simply not the capacity in which the Knicks will need him the most this upcoming season.

Looking at the Knicks Roster

If Immanuel Quickley was to be listed as a point guard for 2021-2022, he’d be the 3rd option, behind Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose. The Knicks would also need to move on from Luca Vildoza, who has a non-guaranteed contract.

As of right now, the most likely role for the 22-year-old from Kentucky would be the backup SG with Evan Fournier starting. This would ensure him the most playing time, and the opportunity to fill in for either Rose or Walker if they were to get injured.

This is probably the most ideal situation for Quickley going forward. No matter how good he is at facilitating and handling the ball, he most naturally fits into the role of shooting guard. Keeping him at his regular position while occasionally giving him reps at PG will allow him to continue to grow as a valuable combo guard.

What Quickley’s Summer League Performance Means

As we saw all last season, Quickley is most effective when he’s shooting the ball well. This allows him to penetrate more efficiently and thus collapse the defense and find the open man or rise up for his patented floater. All this was evident in the first two summer league games for the Knicks.

Against the Pacers Tuesday, Quickley played with fearlessness and aggressiveness that came from increased confidence in his shot. Once he saw the ball go in a few times, he began attacking the rim, which forced defenders to commit. This not only gave players on the Knicks wide-open looks, but it also got him to the free-throw line, where he went 6-6. After the game, he displayed a heightened sense of maturity when discussing his role at the Summer League.

“I’ve been around a year… I’ve been in playoff games. Just continuing to spread my knowledge to the new guys, the young guys. Obi and I are doing a great job understanding we have to help these guys and communicate.” – Immanuel Quickley via NYPost

Quickley seems to be a player who understands what he needs to do to help the team win. No matter what it is you ask of him, he performs to the best of his abilities. As for this upcoming season, he will understand that the best way to help the Knicks will be at the shooting guard position. From a long-term perspective, Quickley could be the team’s solution at PG after Rose and Walkers’ contracts expire in two years. Rose is on a three-year deal, but the final season is not guaranteed.

New York Giants: 3 big takeaways from the release of the unofficial depth chart

david sills, new york giants

The New York Giants released their first unofficial depth chart ahead of the first preseason game against the New York Jets on Saturday. With the team enjoying a great experience at MetLife during Fan-Fest, coining the first fan engagement since before COVID-19, spirits are high, and excitement is brewing.

While the depth chart has a few interesting placements, there’s still plenty of time for players to change the course of their off-season.

Three takeaways from New York Giants’ unofficial depth chart:

1.) David Sills listed ahead of CJ Board, Austin Mack, and Damion Wills

One of the standout players for the Giants thus far has been David Sills, who broke his leg last year, ending his preseason early. Sills was a stand-out during training camp in 2020, and once again, he’s proving to be a solid receiver, especially in the red zone. During live drills in the RZ, Sills has hauled in five touchdown passes, with a number of them coming from quarterback Daniel Jones.

David spent the majority of his off-season following Jones around the country, working hard to create chemistry and perfect timing. Clearly, that is paying off in a big way during camp.

“Basically this guy followed Daniel around the country,” Giants coach Joe Judge said of Sills, per Art Stapleton of NJ.com. “Wherever Daniel was, he was going to be there to catch passes. That’s someone who you can tell has really invested in himself to get every shot he has.”

Judge loves players who invest in themselves and spend extra time refining their craft. Based on that alone, I would say Sills is on the fast track to earning a spot on the 53 man roster. If he can contribute on special teams, Judge will have a hard time moving on from him and his work ethic.

“He’s making a lot of plays for us,” Judge said. “He’s doing a good job, he comes out, works hard every day. Sills is a guy who does everything you ask and he does it 100 percent.”

2.) Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines listed as projected starters at OLB

The Giants added tons of outside linebacker support this off-season, but they listed two familiar faces as the projected starters ahead of the first preseason game. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, who was activated off the PUP less this week as the starters, have Azeez Ojulari and Trent Harris behind them.

Carter is coming off a torn Achilles and Ximines a shoulder injury that ended his season, but they have the most experience at the position. The expectation is that Ojulari will earn significant reps to open the year, given his success last season in the SEC.

Having more depth at the position will prove to be beneficial in 2021, as the Giants were forced to rely on seventh-round pick Carter Coughlin and practice squad player Jabaal Sheard as their primary outside linebackers in 2020. Based on the fact this depth chart is unofficial, it’s not surprising to see Ximines slotter it in as the starter.

3.) Tae Crowder listed as starting WLB next to Blake Martinez

When the Giants drafted Tae Crowder with the final pick in the 2020 NFL draft, nobody expected he would be vying for starting snaps just one year later. The Giants have Crowder listed as the starter opposite Blake Martinez. Not much has been said about the former Georgia stand-out this training camp, but he showed flashes of adequacy as a pass coverage linebacker and run stopper during his rookie season. He collected 40 total tackles, 18 stops and allowed 283 yards. Over 210 covered snaps, he didn’t give up a single score, which is a positive sign.

Behind Crowder, the Giants have Devante Downs and TJ Brunson. I wouldn’t expect either to dislodge him from the starting spot, putting Crowder in an advantageous position to open the year as the primary weak side linebacker.

New York Yankees: The “Field of Dreams” becomes a reality tonight (video)

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Tonight the New York Yankees will play in one of the most long-awaited baseball games of the season or, for that matter, any season. It’s not an exhibition game; it’s not a playoff game, although it might have the feel of such; it will likely be watched by as many baseball fans of any team as game seven of a World Series.

Tonight on the FOX Network at 7 pm EDT, the “Field of Dreams” game will be played in the farmlands of Dyersville, Iowa, between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. It will be the first major league baseball game ever to be played in the state of Iowa.

The game was inspired by the 1989 movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. When Iowa farmer Ray (Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying, “If you build it, he will come,” he decides to act on it. Many thought Ray was crazy, but nevertheless, he eeks out a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfields supported by his wife, Annie. It wasn’t long that the ghosts of great players began emerging from the cornfields to play ball, notably “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

The movie is much more complicated than it seems as Ray finds out it is much more than bringing baseball greats out to play. It’s as much about his relationship with his father and a reconciliation.

In 2012 the land that holds the original Field of Dreams diamond was sold to Denise Stillman. From the day she bought the land, she pushed MLB to have a major league baseball game on her land. In 2016 she married her husband Tom Mietzel; together, they formed Go the Distance. Denise worked for years to cajole MLB to build the park. In the meantime, she developed liver cancer. In 2019 Mietzel finally signed a deal with MLB to build the park. The White Sox and Yankees game was originally to take place in 2020, but the coronavirus prevented that. Unfortunately, Denise died in 2018 before she could see her dream come true.

Tonight, when this iconic game begins in the stands, will be 8,000 adoring baseball fans that will include Mietzel, Stillman’s two children, Keven Costner, and other actors from the film. For the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox, it’s a real game that counts toward their standings. The Yankees are 6 games out in the AL East; the White Sox comfortably leads the AL Central.

“If you build it, he will come” comes true tonight, it took 30 years, but it is now a reality.

“When you think about it, what’s so impressive about it, one woman’s vision and one woman’s courage, and now Major League Baseball is playing its first game in Iowa,” Mietzel said. “I think what’s going on today is a huge legacy to her, to her skills, and to her love, and to her willingness to keep working, even knowing that she would not live to see what was eventually going to come to pass.”

Tonight’s 7 pm game was originally scheduled to have Yankee ace Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Yankees, but the Covid virus has prevented that. Tonight Yankee pitcher Andrew Heaney 7-8 ERA 5.45, will take the mound facing the former Yankee (2018) and White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn 10-3 ERA 2.04.

 

 

 

 

Yankees’ bullpen rises to the occasion as they steal win over Royals

lucas luetge, yankees

The New York Yankees stole a victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday evening, deploying a bullpen game to get the job done. Relief pitcher Lucas Luetge featured as the game’s opener, the first time he’s ever been utilized in that fashion. This was considered his first-ever major-league start. With Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, and Corey Kluber all finding their way back to the team, the Yankees have had no choice but to deploy a unique strategy.

The team used six bullpen pitchers over 9.0 innings on Wednesday, allowing just two runs over seven hits. Thankfully, the Yankees’ offense was able to do enough to extract the win, totaling 12 hits and five runs. Lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu had a solid performance, recording two hits and an RBI, elevating his average to .270. LeMahieu has struggled this season at times, but he’s finally starting to see the ball better and bounce back, as the Yankees desperately needed his efficiency during the second half of the season.

Slugger Aaron Judge also recorded two hits over five at-bats, driving in a run. Joey Gallo, who has struck out an exorbitant amount of times since being acquired by the Yankees, walked twice and managed to get solid contact on the ball. Starting first baseman Luke Voit recorded two RBIs on a single in the first inning, driving in Judge and LeMahieu.

As for the pitching, the Yankees picked up at nine strikeouts, with the majority coming from Albert Abreu, who lasted 2.1 innings, and Chad Green, who picked up the win.

Luckily, skipper Aaron Boone is optimistic that both Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery will be activated off the COVID-19 list this weekend.

“The guys that obviously we’re missing right now are large pieces and you can start to dream a little about getting really impactful players back for us and hopefully to fortify us and set us up for the stretch run,” he said. “Hopefully those guys continue to progress and are part of the mix in short order here.”

Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres are both dealing with injury, and likely won’t return for at least another week. But getting back to essential starting pitchers will be huge for a team looking to pick up some momentum sitting six games back in the AL East and two games back in the Wild Card standings.

Knicks may have special young duo of guards after eye-opening Summer League performance

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The New York Knicks overcame Los Angeles Lakers 91-82 on Wednesday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Coming off a victory over the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks backed it up with another solid performance, led by forward Obi Toppin and guards Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride.

Toppin has looked solid thus far, scoring 17 points in the win but also collecting 11 rebounds. This was one of his more inefficient performances, turning the ball over five times. However, he’s averaging 21 points on 41% shooting during the Summer League. He’s also posting 9.3 rebounds per game, ranking in the top 15 among players in Vegas.

However, the Knicks’ stand-out performers against Los Angeles were Quickley and McBride, who combined for 47 points. Quickley connected on 7-of-15 shots for 25 points, shooting 46.7% from the field, but only hit one of his six attempts from range. He did collect seven assists, building on his momentum as a point guard.

The jury is out on Quickley featuring as a primary shooting guard, which is likely his reality after the Knicks brought back Derrick Rose and signed Kemba Walker to shore up the PG spot. Quickley is proving he’s capable of leading an offense, which could lead to the Knicks entrusting him with the position down the road.

Fellow teammate Miles McBride also had himself a fantastic game, scoring 22 points on 78% shooting. He also connects on all six of his three-point attempts, showcasing his range, even hitting a buzzer beater as the shot clock expired late in the contest.

McBride was the 36th overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, representing a player that head coach Tom Thibodeau fell in love with during the ladder portions of prospect evaluations. He is a quality defender that brings clear-cut shooting prowess to the team.

It will be difficult for McBride to crack the roster and earn minutes, but his emergence could lead to the Knicks cutting Luke Vildoza, who has a non-guarantee contract for four seasons.

If the West Virginia product continues to play like this, the Knicks could have themselves two young guards who are capable of contributing toward a winning season.

The front office has finally put together a roster with sufficient depth, and whenever rookies are contributing and making an impact in their first year, you know the coaching staff is doing something right. Quickley, the former 25th overall pick, and McBride, the 36th overall pick, represent two players who are already surpassing expectations.

Of course, it might be a bit early to get overly excited about McBride, but we shouldn’t overlook his capabilities, based on his stellar performance against Los Angeles.