The New York Knicks fell to the Orlando Magic on Sunday night to mark their first loss of the season. After the game, Tom Thibodeau indicated how when you take shortcuts, nothing good happens.
Against a young Orlando team that was blown out at home against the Knicks just days prior, Thibodeau and the squad now have to reevaluate as they prepare for a bigger matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday evening.
However, some of their more prominent players have started off the season slow, including second-year guard Immanuel Quickley.
To open the season against Boston, Quickley earned just eight minutes of playing time, connecting on 1-of-4 shots from the field. He missed all three attempts from beyond the arc, picking up one assist.
“Right after that Celtics game I went straight to the gym,” Quickley said, via the NY Post. “I expect to stay ready throughout the season whether my name is called, whether it’s not called. That’s something I learned from a lot of players in this league is always stay ready, always wait for your opportunity and when you get your opportunity go and play hard and have fun. I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned in this league.”
Quickley is the first to admit he needs to work on a few things regarding his game, specifically hitting on defense and increased strength. In the most recent loss to the Magic, Quickley played 12 minutes, despite the majority of the team struggling on offense. He missed all four of his attempts.
“I tried to get a lot stronger in the offseason,” Quickley said. “I got done lifting [after the Orlando game]. Just trying to improve every facet of my game. Just watching film, trying to get better whether I’m off the ball, on the ball, just trying to make the right reads and playing multiple positions. Defense. That’ll always get you on the floor with coach Thibs, so I’m trying to improve on that as well.’’
Statistics don’t display the quality player the Knicks enjoyed during his rookie campaign when he hit nearly 39% from three and 40% from the field. On the season, Quickley is averaging 6.0 points and shooting 33% from the field and 30.8% from three-point range. However, the Kentucky product struggled shooting during Summer League play, too, potentially indicating natural regression or a lack of confidence.
Quickley is capable of being a fantastic shooter and offensive threat, but it seems he might be a bit in his head and losing confidence with every inefficient performance. He will turn things around at some point, but an emphasis on defense will be Thibodeau’s strategy, and Quickley struggles in that area, which could see him experience reduced minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Quentin Grimes in the coming days if Immanuel continues to come up short with his shooting.