The New York Knicks are coming off two consecutive victories, with their latest, against the Houston Rockets 121-99. Thanks to stellar performances from Julius Randle and rookie Immanuel Quickley, New York has strung together a few impressive performances, dominating teams with bad defense and questionable offense.
Quickley finished the game with 22 points, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and 4-of-6 from three. He also connected on all four of his free throws and earned a +/- +17. The Kentucky product has continued to impress, and he has a new mentor teaching him the ropes in Derrick Rose. However, star Rockets PG John Wall had motivating things to say about Quickley, who played an altogether better game than his peer.
“He’s someone I respect,’’ Wall said of Quickley before the game. “I’m very happy for him to get the opportunity. I’m glad he’s showing people he’s more than just a shooter. That’s a lot of what people thought. The way he runs the point guard position has been good. It’s going to be good to go against him.”
Quickley has made significant leaps forward in his development, utilizing his vision on the court to spread the ball and a dangerous floating shot that mirrors Derrick Rose’s. Quickley responded to Wall’s comments with a sense of gratitude, as it becomes clear that he is just scratching the surface of his potential. With the right coaches and players around him, Quickley has the ability to be a premium point guard in the NBA, which would solve a problem the Knicks have dealt with for years.
“He told me I was having a good season, he told me to keep working,’’ Quickley said. “And just stay with it. It’s a long season but just keep getting better every day.’’
The New York Knicks move to acquire Rose paying off in dividends:
Parting ways with Dennis Smith Jr. became acceptable when Quickley entered the fold and immediately shot up the depth chart. What Rose is teaching Quickley is invaluable and will ultimately help him over the long term. This move by Tom Thibodeau and management could be their best this season, simply based on the fact that it’s helping their star rookie grow even faster.
“I’m learning a lot of stuff [from him],’’ Quickley said. “I don’t want to give it away because a lot of stuff I’m going to take with me throughout my career. So really just his energy. He’s a dog, an alpha dog, he’s a leader. It’s great to have somebody like that in my corner.’’