John Starks, a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year for the New York Knicks, feels for their rookie Immanuel Quickley who was left out of the Rising Stars roster.
Starks was in disbelief when he saw the Rising Stars roster without the Knicks’ rookie sensation in it.
“I was shocked, to be honest with you,” Starks said on MSG PM on Thursday night following the Knicks’ 114-104 win over the Detroit Pistons. “This kid has been tremendous this year coming off the bench. He’s been one of the leaders out there.”
No.3 in Rookie Ladder
Quickley is averaging only 18.8 minutes on the floor, but he’s producing 23.4 points per 36 minutes which leads all the rookies. He recently jumped to No.3 in the NBA’s Rookie Ladder from No.5.
In 33 games, Quickley has put up 12.2 points (4th among rookies), 2.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists (8th among rookies) and leads all rookies with 98 free throws made. LaMelo Ball is a distant second with 81. His 94.2 percent free-throw accuracy ranks fourth overall in the league.
Quickley has been one of the reasons why the Knicks are off to a surprising start. His valuable play off the bench has helped the Knicks to a 19-18 record, good for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the All-Star break. It’s also their best start since 2013, the last time they made the playoffs.
Quickley’s heady play and his signature floater have endeared him to the Knicks fan base.
“He’s doing everything you want a rookie to do and he’s having the poise of a veteran. I can’t say enough about how this kid carries himself on the court. You just watch how he interacts with his teammates, how he interacts with the referees, it says a lot about his maturity. And for him not to be on the Rising Stars team, I’m just shaking my head,” Starks said.
Same career arc?
The 6-foot-3 Starks, like Quickley, was a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body. But he more than made for his lack of size with his basketball IQ, hops, and physicality on defense. His career averages of 12.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists are near Quickley’s numbers so far.
Starks will always be remembered for his iconic dunk against the Chicago Bulls in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals.
Starks was a key starter in the Knicks team led by Patrick Ewing, which went to the 1994 NBA Finals. In the latter part of his stint with the New York franchise, he moved to the bench, and won the Sixth Man of the Year in 1997.
Quickley can learn a thing or two from Starks.
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