When the New York Knicks drafted Immanuel Quickley in 2020, they didnâ€™t imagine he would become one of their catalysts on offense. At 21-years-old, Quickley made 64 appearances, averaging 19.4 minutes per game. He produced 11.4 points, 2.0 assists, and shot nearly 40% from the field. He also connected on 39% of the shots from three, averaging 4.7 times per game. With a 50% effective field-goal percentage, Quickley is heading into the 2021-22 season with improvements on his mind but a solid foundation to build off of.
Critics might focus on his assist per game from last season, claiming that he is not capable of playing point guard, but he proved otherwise during Summer League play this off-season. Over 33.5 minutes, Quickley produced 7.8 assists and 20.2 points. While he shot just 33.7% from the field and 24% from three, a small five-game sample size doesnâ€™t entirely tell the full story. His floaters were golden, showcasing one of his most lethal traits.
However, Quickley has adapted to a combo guard role, capable of leading an offense but also featuring as a shooting specialist that can draw attention from defenders. In fact, it is entirely possible that the Knicks view Quickley as a potential long-term solution at point guard, despite signing Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker to multi-year contracts. Quickley can easily fill the PG spot if injuries arise, but they prefer for him to be one of their super subs off the bench.
With superior athleticism, Quickley is still developing his offensive game and shot creation. Quickley was tied for the fifth-lowest percentage of shots at the rim in the NBA last season, landing at .059%, coming from 0-3 feet away. If he can improve his conversion rate in the layup category, the young guard can develop into one of the most lethal weapons on the roster.
Extracting the most value out of the former Kentucky stand-out starts with injecting him into the lineup at the right times. Quickley will likely start on the bench after the signing of Evan Fournier and Walker, but that doesnâ€™t mean he wonâ€™t have a significant impact. Head coach Tom Thibodeau will be curating lineup combinations, and Quickley could feature in multiple, including at the point guard position and shooting guard with Julius Randle on the floor to help kick the ball out to the perimeter.
The one thing that Immanuel needs to work on is his patience and shot selection. At times, Quickley can get overzealous and attack without much of a plan. If he can script specific moves and play off his teammates, he will see his efficiency elevate. That is a big reason his shooting percentages during the Summer League were so erratic — he was far too over-aggressive at times instead of trusting his teammates and passing the ball effectively.
The Knicks will likely avoid that issue by having him spread the floor and hover into open space where the primary offensive threat can find him as a secondary option. The Knicks would love for IQ to be their primary 6th man next season, but he also has to improve his defensive qualities before Thibodeau can trust him with a regular role.