Every time you watch New York Knicks rookie Immanuel Quickley lofts a floater into the basket, remember that 24 teams passed on the Kentucky guard. When the Knicks originally drafted him, most were perplexed at the idea, considering he was mocked as a second-round pick.
Ultimately, Knicksâ€™ coach Kenny Payne played an instrumental role in convincing management that Quickley could be a star for them at the next level. During his final year with Kentucky, he averaged 16.1 points, 1.9 assists, and .428% from three.
Quickley contained a plethora of tools the Knicks were looking for in their next point guard, but they didnâ€™t expect him to erupt onto the scene so fast. So far, during the 2021 season, Quickley is averaging 10 points per game over 17.9 minutes. It is important to note that he hasnâ€™t started a contest yet, playing primarily off the bench and offering immediate offensive aggression. Heâ€™s not the most refined defensive player, which is why Elfrid Payton remains the starter, but he has the qualities to be a fantastic asset moving forward.
Head coach time to be able has done a stellar job rotating his players, given the Knicks a chance to win games. They are currently 7-8 and are coming off too impressive performance is against playoff-caliber teams. After embarking on a five-game losing streak, the Knicks didnâ€™t lose their swagger, playing hard and trying to keep the hope alive.
Thibodeau is the protÃ©gÃ© of Jeff Van Gundy, who is watching closely as quickly emerges as a stand-out player for New York early on in his career.
Marc Berman of the NY Post spoke to Jeff Van Gundy, who raved about the selection of Immanuel Quickley and his influence so far:
â€œWhoever was in charge of drafting Quickley needs to have an article dedicated to him,â€™â€™ Van Gundy said, as the Knicks sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. â€œThis was a guy looked at as a second-round pick. Someone went to bat for this guy and wanted this guy. He gives them real hope from an offensive standpoint.
â€œHe knows how to draw fouls. He can shoot. He plays with great enthusiasm and energy. Thatâ€™s a Charlie Ward-type pick to me. A guy who was drafted low, but can be a good player over a long period â€” most likely a starter at some part of his career. Itâ€™s a great draft pick.â€
Quickley is just barely scratching the surface of his potential, and I personally believe he can be the starting point guard in the future. Easing him in and adapting his qualities to the NBA is essential, and Thibodeau understands that he has plenty of time to refine the young Kentucky guard into the player he needs him to be.
Offensively, he is a weapon from the floor and driving to the rim, exerting an exorbitant amount of energy that never seems to end. His bouncy attitude and agile style of play are unique, and the Knicks feel he has a bright future.
We are just starting to witness what he is capable of at the NBA level, and over the course of an entire season, his development will be fun to watch.