Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau is asking more of Immanuel Quickley with point guard woes mounting

immanuel quickley, knicks

The New York Knicks are coming off what most would coin an embarrassing defeat to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, losing by 24 points and failing to crack 80 points as a whole.

Boston returned with a vengeful performance after Evan Fournier posted 41 points at MSG to overcome his former club. Jaylon Brown recorded his 1st triple-double of the season, posting 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.

For the Knicks, they simply couldn’t get going offensively, despite shooting a modest 35.5% from three-point range. Their 40% success rate from the free-throw line tells a story of inefficiency and the lack of fundamentals.

However, the Knicks enjoyed a solid outing from second-year guard Immanuel Quickley, who replaced Fournier, featuring in 37 minutes, posting 18 points and four assists. He was able to organize the offense sufficiently in the first half, but he lost control in the second half, as Boston ran wild, scoring 32 points in the third quarter compared to 18 from New York.

After the Knicks’ defeat to the Celtics, head coach Tom Thibodeau stated that he wanted more from Immanuel Quickley as an organizer of the offense:

“I thought he played really well,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said, per Phillip Martinez of SNY. “The first half he had us organized, had real good looks so it was a good start for him. I want him to take more control in the second half and I think he will. He’s done a good job for us.”

Quickley knows he’s still developing as a player but noted that his intelligence on the floor was one of his primary strengths:

“I’m still learning. I’ll be the first one to tell you,” Quickley said. “I’m not perfect and I want to be, you know, as perfect as I can be. Just trying to take command of the team and put guys where they need to be.

“Whether it’s on offense or defense, I feel like my basketball IQ is one of my strengths and just being able to put people in the right spots, get us organized when other teams are on the run and settling us down a little bit….Just going through [games] like this helps out a lot. I’ll be better, we’ll be better next game.”

The Knicks need their young guard to step up in a time of need:

Quickley has shown signs of facilitation and elite vision this season, recording three or more assists in three of his last four games. On the season, he’s only averaging 2.6 assists and 10.7 points, but that’s mainly because he’s coming off the bench.

With Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose both nursing injuries, Thibodeau is demanding more out of Quickley as a point guard, a position he’s been slowly working on over the past two years. He’s shown glimpses of quality play, but he needs to be more consistent in finding open looks and organizing his teammates. Unfortunately, he needs more experience, which will sometimes cost the Knicks possessions.

Proposed new hardship exception may force Knicks to add player

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The New York Knicks are down to nine healthy bodies in the rotation after Immanuel Quickley tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday. Meanwhile, Derrick Rose (sore ankle) is still questionable to play in Saturday’s game in Boston.

The Knicks have yet to add additional players via the hardship exception. But they may be forced to if the NBA Board of Governors’ new proposed plan gets approved.

The NBA Board of Governors convened Friday and they proposed a new plan that would curb the postponement of games, according to an ESPN report. Two Chicago Bulls’ games have already been postponed in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 surge around the league.

Under the new proposed plan, teams would be required to add a 10-day player via the hardship exception after a second, third and fourth COVID-19 case.

In the proposed plan, after the first case of COVID, a team would be permitted to add a 10-day player, league sources said, but after a second, third and fourth case, teams would be required to add a 10-day player. Teams would be limited to three replacement players, but the new plan would, overall, require teams to maintain enough depth so that the league wouldn’t be forced to cancel or postpone games because some teams didn’t have the league-required eight healthy players.

Under the plan, the additional replacement players also wouldn’t count against that respective team’s salary cap or luxury tax, league sources said.

Previously, the hardship exemption was solely under the discretion of the teams. Some teams have already availed. But some, like the Knicks, have yet to use the exception rule. The hardship exemption under the CBA rules allows teams to exceed the 15-man roster limit in times of need (when multiple players are out because of injury or illness).

The league and the National Basketball Players Association still have to agree to the new proposed plan before it takes effect.

If the new plan gets approval, the Knicks would have to add players even if Rose and the first few Knicks under protocols return to the lineup.

Obi Toppin, their first player to test positive, could clear health and safety protocols two days from now. Under the current health and safety protocols guideline, players who test positive should be sidelined for at least 10 days or record two negative COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour period before they can resume basketball activities.

Toppin entered the health and safety protocols last Dec. 10 after their game in Toronto. The infection quickly spread around the team. RJ Barrett, rookie Quentin Grimes, Kevin Knox are the other three Knicks players in the health and safety protocols. At the same time, MSG analyst Clyde Frazier and sideline reporter Rebecca Haarlow also tested positive.

The NBA and NBPA have also agreed to stricter measures amid the spike of COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, the league issued a memorandum that requires players and Tier 1 personnel to wear masks at all times with only two exceptions: during on-court basketball activities for players and head coaches during games.

The league will also ramp up testing during the holidays. From Dec. 26 to Jan. 8, players and staff will be tested on game days except for those who received their booster shot 14-plus days earlier or recently recovered from the virus.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks’ Thibodeau may have stumbled upon electrifying guard duo

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The New York Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets, courtesy of young guards Miles McBride and Immanuel Quickley.

Scoring 116 points has been a difficult reality for the Knicks over the past month, but seven 3-PT shots from Quickley led the team to victory. However, his partner in crime, McBride, recorded 15 points in a career-high 36 minutes of action.

Against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, McBride seized his first significant assignment by the basketballs, playing 20 minutes and garnering eight points and one assist. However, he unleashed his facilitation capabilities against Houston, recording nine assists as the team’s primary point guard off the bench.

With veteran PG Derrick Rose leaving the game with a sore right ankle, McBride picked up his playing time and ran with it effectively. Not only was he a phenomenal offensive threat in this game, but he played lockdown defense, posting a +19 +/-.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau might have stumbled across an electrifying duo of guards in this contest with Quickley and McBride. They played well off one another and created opportunities for the players around them, something the Knicks struggled to do in recent days without a true and tried starting facilitator.

After the victory over Houston, Quickley dropped a few words of leadership, not only indicating he’s growing on the court but as a leader behind the scenes.

“We needed it big. Through the tough times, I feel like we’ve stuck together pretty well”

Thibodeau went on to provide a mode of confidence with his young players, stating he sees it every day in practice and that once the opportunity came to fruition, they would be ready to take advantage.

“They’re killer workers, I see it every day in practice. I always feel that when they get their opportunity, they’re gonna be ready to roll.”

It was quite easy to see that McBride was ready to make the jump to the big leagues after dominating in the G-League. McBride averaged 26.8 points per game with Westchester, shooting 40.5% from three-point range and 48.2% from the field. The West Virginia stand-out has proven he can dominate from range but also contribute inside driving to the rim.

Pairing all of these positive attributes with vision and facilitation makes him a viable prospect to be the Knicks’ long-term starter at point guard down the line (or at the very least a great depth piece).

The question is, when McBride hits a wall and has a poor game, can he bounce back and shake off the negativity without skipping a beat? That is what separates good from great, and so far, he’s justifying more minutes alongside Quickley, with the pair combining for 39 points and 13 assists on Thursday.

McBride, Quickley power Knicks past Rockets with 39 combined points

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Despite the loss of RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and Kevin Knox due to COVID-19 health protocols, the New York Knicks still powered past the Houston Rockets on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Despite a thin bench, the Knicks’ second-team stepped up big in the win, with a pair of young guards showcasing fantastic defense and even better offensive production. Rookie Miles McBride played 36 minutes compared to 12 from Derrick Rose, posting 15 points, nine assists, three rebounds, and shot 6 of 11 from the field.

It is clear that McBride is becoming a bright young player for New York and is well-deserving of more minutes after a stellar first performance against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. McBride has now strung together two productive outings, meaning head coach Tom Thibodeau will likely keep him in the rotation even when their injured players make a return from the Covid list.

However, McBride wasn’t alone in his quest for success, as second-year guard Immanuel Quickley matched his efficiency and then some. Quickley posted 24 points, four assists, and shot 70% from three-point range, hitting 7 of 10 shots. The duo combined for 13 assists and 39 points, leading the way for New York, who had two starters post zero points.

Aside from the young guards, Julius Randle added 21, and Evan Fournier contributed 23; however, both posted a negative +/-.

The Knicks needed their youngsters to step up and play well, and the emergence of McBride is yet another sign of optimism for a team that continues to rely on their youth to pick up the slack. Luckily, they were up against a weak Houston squad who had dropped three of their last four games heading into Thursday night.

As a team, the Knicks hit 47.2% from deep and 47% on the field, contributing 40 rebounds and 25 assists. They held the Rockets to 34.4%, shooting from three-point range, 24 rebounds, and 29 assists. They out-rebounded Houston by 11, including 10 added offensive rebounds.

This was the high-energy performance Thibodeau needed from his team to get back in the win column, and they can look ahead to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night with a hopeful return of some of their impact players.

Knicks should make big shift at point guard against Nets

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The New York Knicks need more firepower on offense to start games, especially with the inconsistencies of Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose currently dealing with an ankle injury. Walker has struggled to open the year with his new team, averaging 11.7 points, a career-low over 24.5 minutes. Walker may be hitting 41.3% from downtown this season, but in the month of February, he’s connected on just 29.6%.

Ultimately, when Walker isn’t producing on offense, he’s virtually useless. Considering his defensive game-plan is entirely reliant on drawing charging fouls, Kemba’s value plummets the second he’s not knocking down shots at an efficient rate. However, second-year guard Immanuel Quickley has become one of the team’s better on-ball defenders, utilizing aggression and shiftiness to create bad shot opportunities for opponents.

Quickley has been a well-rounded player this season, averaging 9.3 points and shooting 36.6% from deep on the year. However, in November, he’s hit 40.8% of his shots from three and 44.2% from the field. In fact, he’s recorded double-digit points four times in his last five games, making a significant impact not just as a score, but as a facilitator.

The Kentucky product posted seven assists in the most recent win over Atlanta, showcasing his vision, especially in transition. The argument revolves around Walker losing starting minutes in favor of Quickley, but head coach Tom Thibodeau may not want to disrupt his chemistry with Obi Toppin, who features primarily on the second team.

Separating Quickley from Toppin may be a poor move, but having him develop chemistry with Julius Randle may be more beneficial for the team’s production in the first half. The starting five have struggled so badly at times this year, the second team has been forced to supplement deficiencies, which is not a sustainable strategy.

Some might argue that Walker sitting out against Atlanta gave the Knicks an advantage, as Alec Burks filled his spot with the starting five. Burks had an incredible performance, posting 23 points and seven rebounds over 39 minutes. The starting team as a whole actually performed better, as Evan Fournier contributed 20 points and RJ Barrett 15. It is starting to become obvious that Walker is holding back the squad from reaching their potential, due to a lack of poor facilitation and shot selection.

Against a Brooklyn Nets team that is known for its offensive prowess, they need to start off strong, which may promote Quickley earning more minutes to open the game over Walker.

Do you think that Quickley should be earning more time on the floor? Comment here!

Should the Knicks be reducing Kemba Walker’s minutes?

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The New York Knicks played a dominant game against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday evening, and one interesting factor that led to a more prominent defensive performance was the loss of point guard Kemba Walker, who elected to skip out on the game due to maintenance.

After the team was blown out by the Pheonix Suns, Walker indicated that needed to grow, and his squad did just that with him watching from the bench.

“It’s a great learning experience,’’ Walker said after the blowout loss to the Suns. “It’s a great team out there. We need to grow as a team.’’

Kemba has struggled considerably this season, scoring a career-low 11.7 points, 3.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and shooting 42.9% from the field. Overall, Walker has been a shell of his former self, primarily due to a lack of chemistry and experience with his teammates. However, he’s posting the worst +/- of his career at -6.8, as the Knicks have lost their identity at times as an elite defensive team.

However, with Walker riding the bench against Atlanta, the Knicks relied heavily on some of their youth players, including Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes. Both played fantastic press defense, getting in the face of their assignments and forcing tough shooting opportunities. This led to just 90 total points from Atlanta, a team that hadn’t scored less than 100 since November 14 against the Milwaukee Bucks, when their seven-game win streak started.

The question needs to be asked: Are the Knicks better one Kemba Walker isn’t on the floor as often?

In the absence of the veteran PG, Alec Burks stepped in to fill his role, posting 23 points with the starting five, hitting 7-of-17 shots from the field and 4-of-7 shots from three-point range. Burks also contributed seven rebounds and three assists. Overall, he was far better on offense and provided adequate defense in combination, which helped the Knicks post a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

In the month of November, Walker has started in 12 games, in which the Knicks have lost eight, winning five. New York has won despite his lackluster offensive efficiency, posting double digits in the points category just once in those five wins. He’s also shot just 29.6% from three-point range in November, an insufficient number that isn’t a reflection of his regular-season total, which sits at 41.3%. Walker started off extremely hot in October, posting double-digit points in every single game, but has since tapered off in a significant way.

There’s an argument to be made that Immanuel Quickley should be earning more minutes, which should be taken away from Walker’s playing time. Looking at Quickley, he offers more as a defensive player and has also been extremely efficient this month. In November, Quickley is hitting 45.5% of his field-goal attempts and 43.8% from three-point range, recording double-digit points in 8-of-14 contests.

In fact, over his last five games, he has recorded a low of nine, which came against Atlanta on Saturday evening, and a high of 16 against Phoenix. Quickley has also been far more efficient as a facilitator, recording seven assists against Atlanta in the win.

Do you think that Walker should forfeit minutes to Quickley in the future? Comment here!

Analyzing the Knicks’ Lineups: Should Immanuel Quickley be earning starter minutes?

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There really isn’t a lot to say positively about the Knicks starting unit right now. They are statistically one of the worst lineups in the league, with a points minus opponent points per 100 possessions of -17.8. This is just inexcusable. For anyone that doesn’t understand the advanced stat I just threw out, let me simplify it for you: they stink.

Is There One Big Problem for These Knicks?

Here’s the thing about this rotation: You can’t fully blame any singular reason as to why they don’t play well together, but there have been some constants.

First, there’s no doubt that the loss of Reggie Bullock has hurt the lineup’s defensive prowess.

Evan Fournier has been a solid option and gives the offense much-needed spacing, don’t get me wrong. But the Frenchman’s defense has been lacking heavily. In fact, his defensive rating of 112.5 ranks as the 3rd worst on the team, with a minimum of 10 minutes per game played.

The second and most important is the subpar play of starting point guard Kemba Walker. When New York went out and acquired the veteran, not many people were too focused on the defensive repercussions the move would have because his name wasn’t Elfrid Payton. Also, Walker’s contract is reasonable, and the team had the money to sign him.

Although acquiring the former UConn star was a no-brainer, his game just hasn’t fit the needs of the Knicks. I’m not saying Kemba shouldn’t start (knowing Coach Thibs will likely give the starters more time to gel), but the players that have worked better in the offensive system and offer more on the other side of the ball should eat up more of his and Fournier’s time.

With Rose already getting his fair share of minutes, enter Immanuel Quickley.

Playing the Young Guard More

The Knicks play better when Immanuel Quickley is on the floor, period. This year, his combined +/- in all games is +86. This is third on the team to Obi Toppin and D-Rose, the latter of which has a +/- of 120 on the year, which ranks 7th in the NBA.

In his last few games, the second-year guard has shown flashes of being an elite shot- and play-maker. Yet, he still hasn’t gotten minutes with the team’s starters.

In fact, he’s played less than 30 minutes with RJ Barrett and less than 25 with Julius Randle this year. Last night against the Magic was actually one of the only times all 3 were on the court at the same time.

A quick fix to the inconsistency of the 5 in the starting unit could be to reshuffle lineups later in the game without giving the main bench guys any fewer minutes together as we saw against Orlando.

Tom Thibodeau’s reluctance to shake up his rotations has limited the options he has when either unit struggles. So, inserting Quickley in for Walker or Fournier a lot more if either is playing poorly can potentially be beneficial in multiple areas for the Knicks.

The most reasonable assumption for what New York will do is to keep the lineups the same, just as they did all of last year. However, unless the team’s starting backcourt figures it out, expect to see some changes in the future.

Thibodeau blames himself as Knicks fall to Magic again: ‘That’s on me’

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The Knicks‘ starters have taken a lot of heat already. New York coach Tom Thibodeau shielded them and took ownership this time.

Two nights after showing endgame grit in a gutsy win over Indiana Pacers, the Knicks crumbled in crunch time as they lost for the second straight time to Eastern Conference’s bottom-dweller Orlando Magic this season.

Errant passes by second-year guard Immanuel Quickley, hero of Monday’s win, and veteran Derrick Rose doomed the Knicks. The Magic pounced, and they escaped with a 104-98 win Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Two of Orlando’s only four wins so far this season came on the Knicks’ home floor, a rare occurrence as the Magic have never done this since the 2017-18 season.

“Unfortunately, we beat ourselves. Our turnovers hurt us. The second shot hurt us. We’re capable of playing a lot better than we did. We give them credit. They played well. They played hard. We didn’t,” Thibodeau said. “I have to do a better job getting them ready. That’s on me. We’ll take a good look hard at it.”

The Knicks committed 18 turnovers, with the last two hurting them the most.

Terrence Ross intercepted Quickley’s lazy pass and converted it into a breakaway dunk as the Magic grabbed the lead, 95-94, with 2:56 left. Quickley atoned for his mistake with a feed to RJ Barrett for the Knicks’ last lead, 96-97. But Orlando went on a 9-2 closing run, sealing New York’s fate with a Wendell Carter Jr.’s alley-oop slam off Rose’s turnover in the final 30 seconds.

The Knicks slid to 8-7, and with 15 games in, the disturbing trend of inconsistent effort from the starters continued.

New additions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier combined for only 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting and were reduced to spectators again down the stretch. Thibodeau went small in the final 3:42 when Julius Randle replaced Mitchell Robinson with the Knicks up, 94-91. They went super small when Rose was re-inserted for Obi Toppin, who was spectacular with a season-high-tying 14 points off the bench.

It backfired.

Randle did not log in a single attempt. He had a steal, but Rose turned it over.

Game over.

“It’s tough. It’s a lot to fix,” Randle said. “Sh*t’s not going well for us right now.”

Randle finished with only 13 points on 11 shots and contributed three of the Knicks’ 18 turnovers which the Magic converted into 21 points. The starters went into another lull in the third quarter before the second unit led by Toppin picked them up. The Knicks’ bench reinforced by Barrett transformed an 11-point deficit into a five-point lead on a Toppin jumper with 6:33 to go. But the Knicks could not hold it down. They gave up a combined 36 points on second chance and transition baskets.

Their defense, particularly the starters, is not as connected as last season. But it was expected as they replaced the previous season’s defensive-oriented backcourt of Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock with more offensive-minded players. The projected firepower addition that should compensate for the defensive regression has yet to pan out consistently.

Almost a quarter into the season, Thibodeau is still searching for the right combinations. But it’s hard to build chemistry with the constant mix and matching of lineups.

“It’s all part of it. The good thing about it is you have depth. Sometimes, the tough thing is trying to figure out who’s going well and that sort of thing,” said a defiant Thibodeau, who hinted before the game that the starting lineup would remain intact for the foreseeable future. “Hey, look, we’re capable of doing better, and we have to. Our only way out is we got to work our way out of this.”

Where do they start?

“The first thing you have to do is eliminate the ways in which you beat yourself,” said Thibodeau referring to their defense, rebounding, and low turnovers. “That’s got to be the priority.”

Thibodeau forgot one more thing. Consistent effort.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

When fate meets faith: Knicks’ Quickley rises as big-time shotmaker

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Immanuel Quickley ran to the corner. He received the pass. Set his feet squarely on the floor. Then a quick release. His follow-through stayed in the same position until the ball touched the net—poetry in motion.

Quickley’s corner 3 gave Kentucky its first lead of the second half, 58-57, against eventual NBA top overall pick Anthony Edwards and Georgia. It was the first meeting between the two SEC schools in January last year, 10 months ahead of the NBA Draft. Quickley’s big shot fueled the Wildcats win over the Bulldogs and perhaps his wild journey to the New York Knicks.

After the game, Dice Yoshimoto, who was Georgia’s director of basketball strategy and video at that time, quickly called Tom Thibodeau.

“Watch this kid, Quickley,” Thibodeau said of his conversation with Yoshimoto last year. “He’s like all the small guards that we had in Chicago. He said he had saved every big shot for Kentucky.”

At that time, Thibodeau was out of the league. He was still looking for his next NBA job. Still, that did not stop Thibodeau from following Quickley’s rise to becoming SEC’s Player of the Year under John Calipari at Kentucky. He called William Wesley (World Wide Wes), a powerful behind-the-scenes NBA power broker and a close friend of Calipari, to learn more about Quickley.

“Wes gave me the background on him. And so I continued [ watching him]. I don’t know where I was going to be, but he was someone who was on our radar,” Thibodeau said.

Five months after that phone call, Thibodeau and Wesley found themselves together in New York, tasked to help their close friend Leon Rose rebuild the Knicks franchise. Two months later, Yoshimoto rejoined Thibodeau in his staff. Kenny Payne, Calipari’s top assistant at Kentucky, also joined the Knicks, bringing a wealth of inside intel on Quickley.

Calipari had a glowing recommendation of Quickley ahead of the NBA Draft.

“Immanuel Quickley was the Player of the Year in our league. He’s right up there with the hardest workers spending the most time in the gym, most committed players that I’ve ever had,” Calipari told Empire Sports Media via Zoom call one month before the 2020 NBA Draft. “You better give him a second, third, or fourth look before you pass on him because he’s another one.”

“He spaces the court because he’s making threes. It’s what everybody knows. It’s where the league is going right now? You better be able to make threes. If you can’t, you better have some unbelievable talent; you better have ESP or something like that if you can’t shoot. The game has changed,” Calipari added.

Thibodeau didn’t need more convincing. It did the opposite as it took away some of the Knicks’ advantage on Quickley. Rival teams scampered to get a hold of the quick-rising prospect.

Quickley met with all NBA teams except the Portland Trail Blazers, who shipped their first-round pick for Robert Covington. The Knicks were one of the six teams who interviewed Quickley twice.

“As far as the Knicks are concerned, I think they know more about him more than anybody team in the NBA,” Jide Sodipo, Quickley’s trainer, told Empire Sports Media ahead of the draft.

It proved prescient.

Upon Thibodeau’s recommendation to get a shooter, Wesley reportedly pressed Rose and other front-office members to get Quickley on draft night. Some major sports outlets nitpicked that pick as a reach, but Quickley proved them wrong. He turned out to be a revelation in his rookie year.

On Monday night, it came full circle for Yoshimoto as Quickley did precisely the same play that made him text Thibodeau on that fateful night in January last year.

Quickley’s go-ahead corner 3 with 5:03 left fueled a gut-check 92-84 win over the Indiana Pacers that snapped their two-game losing skid.

Quickley tied Kemba Walker with a team-high 16 points on 4 of 4 three-pointers, each shot a big one.

He was in middle school when Walker had his Cardiac Kemba moment at Madison Square Garden.

The energy and the vibe of that shot and the celebration never left his mind. Quickley always dreamed of hitting big shots on the Garden floor. That’s one of the reasons why Quickley hops up and down the length of the floor in celebration of every big shot he makes.

“It’s just fun playing in the Garden. I ain’t gonna lie. The energy is just crazy,” Quickley said.

The shifty guard quickly became a fan-favorite in New York ever since his signature floater and a long three-pointer became a New York staple as a rookie.

So when Quickley hit the sophomore wall early this season, it was jarring to read a quarter of the #Knicks Twitter crucifying him. In his first nine games, Quickley’s shooting had regressed. He managed to make only 7 of his first 31 three-pointers. It wasn’t what everyone was expecting.

Quickley’s faith was tested. But he was unmoved and unafraid.

“I don’t really look at it as a slow start,” Quickely said. “I look at it as the ball wasn’t just going in and it’s eventually going to go in. The numbers are always going to fall in the place where they are supposed to.”

The early shooting slump did not deter Quickley. Instead, it drove him to work harder and cling to his faith tighter.

“Quick has to be the guy that’s in the gym the most out of everybody.” his teammate RJ Barrett said recently.

The Knicks’ Tarrytown practice facility became an extension of Quickley’s place, just 10 minutes away.

Quickley has always been a relentless worker who possesses a faith that is bigger than his trials. He got those two success-defining traits from his mother, Nitrease Quickley, the former Morgan State sharpshooter and currently a vice principal in Harford County, Md., and his father, Marcellous Quickley, a Christian pastor.

“If you just stick with it, you keep doing and keep working on all the things that you’re supposed to and keep your faith first, everything gonna falls into place,” Quickley said.

True enough, his shots began to fall. Over his last five games, Quickley’s numbers have risen to 13.0 points on a 49/56/92 shooting split, 2.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and only a single turnover in 21.5 minutes off the bench. He had connected on 14 of 25 3s. The last two were much needed by a struggling Knicks team on the brink. The first one tied the game at 74 against the Pacers and the second one, the go-ahead 3, lifted the Knicks over the hump.

“I think we all had a high sense of urgency. Coach [Thibodeau] stressed in the shootaround that we needed this one to get back on the right track,” Quickley said.

Quickley hitting big shot after big shot is nothing new to him and to people who know him. It’s the reason why Yoshimoto was so high on him. And it’s the same reason why Thibodeau and Wesley pushed for him in the draft.

“They (coaches and teammates) always give me a lot of confidence. Obviously, my faith is a big part of who I am so that gives me a lot of confidence when I’m on the floor, and then also I think playing at Kentucky where pretty much every game is a big game. So, it’s a combination of all that stuff,” Quickley said.

The former Nitrease Hamilton was Quickley’s first coach. She watched her son hit his first big shot when he was an eight, nine years old skinny kid. Since that moment, Quickley fell in love with the game.

“I hit a walk-off, stepback three for the game,” Quickley recalled. “Everybody was holding me up high. I’ll never forget that shot. It’s like a dream.”

Quickley is living his dream.

It was his fate to land on this Knicks team. It was his faith that guided him to navigate a difficult start to his sophomore season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks News: Robinson injury update, Quickley flashes starter-level play in win over Indiana

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The New York Knicks emerged victorious against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, scoring 92 points and giving up 84. While this wasn’t exactly the offensive master-class they had hoped for, holding the Pacers to 84 points was simply a magisterial performance on defense. A feisty Knicks unit held Indiana to just 10 points in the fourth quarter, including field-goal-less in the last seven minutes.

However, it wasn’t all positives for New York, who watched center, Mitchell Robinson leave the game early due to ankle soreness. Taj Gibson stepped in to fill the void, playing 29 minutes and contributing fantastic energy and defense for the remainder of the game.

Robinson has been dealing with a variety of issues, including a hip flexor injury. He has missed just one game this year on November 8 against the Philadelphia 76ers, and there’s no telling if he will miss any more time with the new ankle issue. After missing more than half of last season with a fractured foot and hand, the Knicks desperately need him to be more reliable.

Hopefully, Nerlens Noel can return from a right knee injury he sustained several nights ago. In the meantime, New York will have to rely on Gibson and rookie Jericho Sims, but they have been rolling with Obi Toppin and Julius Randle at times to help protect the rim. They don’t offer the same defensive protection in the paint, so getting their big-men healthy is a priority.

The Knicks are seeing the development of Immanuel Quickley blossom before their eyes:

If not for a tremendous performance for Immanuel Quickley against Indiana, the Knicks might’ve dropped the third consecutive game. Quickley scored 16 points over 23 minutes, hitting all four of his three-point attempts. He also collected five rebounds and an assist.

Quickley is showcasing his development over the past few games, posting a high of 18 against Milwaukee last Wednesday and a low of just nine against Charlotte. He’s shooting 32.7% from deep this year due to a slow start, but he’s ranged from a low of 40% to a high of 100% over the past five games.

As long as Quickley continues to play aggressive defense and hit his shots, Tom Thibodeau will be forced to feature him more, which is a best-case scenario. Considering New York’s poor perimeter defense this year, Quickley has provided energy and effort frequently to give his team an advantage on both sides of the ball. The Kentucky product made it a priority to improve his defense this past off-season, and it is paying off in dividends early in the year.

While Quickley lacks size and vertical athleticism, he has developed a fantastic floater and uses his agility and speed to put defenders off balance. The growth of his offensive capabilities are on full display, and as his confidence grows, his production should follow. Defensively, he’s been tasked with putting pressure on the perimeter and full-court which has done him well.