Is it time for the Knicks to move Immanuel Quickley into the starting lineup?

New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) reacts to the crowd against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Footprint Center
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks sixth man Immanuel Quickley has been impressive during the first portion of the 2023-2024 NBA season, building off of a breakout season in the year prior, which saw Quickley finish as the runner-up for the Sixth Man of The Year award. His impact on New York has been so profound that it may be time to consider moving him into the starting lineup.

Immanuel Quickley has excelled despite contract situation

Quickley has maintained his consistent play from last season despite his current contract situation with the team, as he will be a restricted free agent following this season.

Through 25 games, Quickley is averaging 14.8 points in just 24.0 minutes per game off the bench. The former Kentucky product has acted as a major spark plug for the Knicks, providing the Knicks with a burst of energy, and immediately impacting the game on both ends of the floor once he checks in.

Quickley is posting incredible numbers this season

The fourth-year guard has passed both the eye test and the statistical test so far this season. Quickley currently boasts the highest individual net rating out of everyone in the Knicks’ rotation with an 8.3 rating.

In addition, Quickley also has the lowest individual defensive rating in the entire rotation with a rating of just 109.5. Quickley has provided the Knicks with two-way versatility at the guard position, raising the question if he should be promoted to the starting lineup.

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Could Quickley excel in a starting role for the Knicks?

Quickley has excelled as a starter in the past. Last season, Quickley was superb in 21 starts, averaging 22.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game with efficient shooting splits of 47% FG/40.1% 3P/84.6% FT. He showed the Knicks last season that he can excel in any role he is given, and a move to the starting lineup permanently should encounter little growing pains.

Currently in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season, the Knicks will need Quickley to maintain his superb play, as the team as a whole performs better when he is on the court. While head coach Tom Thibodeau has not indicated any changes will be made to the starting lineup, if Quickley continues to impact the team the way he has so far, he may have no choice but to expand the guard’s role going forward.