Ahead of Game 3 against the Cavs on Friday, the Knicks need one of their key role players to step up. They travel back to New York to host Cleveland at MSG, and Immanuel Quickley needs to put on a show. Last game, the Knicks’ offense fell flat the entire duration, and IQ wasn’t on his A-game. If the Knicks want to compete with the better teams in the East, he needs to get back on the level he was playing at this season.
The Knicks need Immanuel Quickley to step up:
Quickley is in the running for 6MOTY at the moment, and aside from maybe Malcolm Brogdon, I don’t know if there’s anyone that deserves it more. IQ had a great year off the bench for the Knicks and also improved across the board from last season. He put up 14.9 PPG with 4.2 boards and 3.4 assists to boot. He also shot 44.8% from the field, up from 39.2% last season, while hitting 37% of his threes.
If Quickley plays well, the Knicks have a much better shot of winning this series. In Game 2, he was better, as he dropped 12 points in just 23 minutes. It wasn’t the best job, but it was far better than his Game 1 performance, where he put up 3 points in 24 minutes, on 0-5 shooting. The Knicks are in a better spot when he’s playing well, and when he’s out there with the second unit, he’s usually the best offensive player on the floor.
The Knicks are very much alive and well in this series, as it still sits at just one game a piece. The problem is that they haven’t had a real answer for Darius Garland, and Donovan Mitchell hasn’t had a big game yet. If the Knicks want to progress onto the next round, it’s all hands on deck, and that includes the potential 6MOTY stepping up.
I know Hart is very easily the key player in this series, as his versatility and defensive presence are huge for the Knicks to get through. However, IQ is one of many that need to pull their weight and help this team advance to the next round. The Cavs are a very good team, and on the offensive side of the ball, are one of the best in basketball. The Knicks need IQ to start dropping buckets so they can allow the offense to play through their main scorers and from the outside in.
I believe the Knicks can win this series, especially if Quickley puts up a few great performances. He’s not the lone X-Factor, but he certainly is one. His quickness and ability to slash the defense whilst getting into the paint matters a ton, and we haven’t seen his best up to this point. For a guy that was as solid all year as he was, he needs to show it next game.