McBride’s career game powers Westchester Knicks to first win

New York Knicks rookie point guard Miles McBride and two-way rookie center Jericho Sims gave Westchester a timely lift in a come-from-behind win over erstwhile unbeaten Motor City Cruise, 110-105, Tuesday night at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.

McBride dropped 10 of his G League career-high 39 points in the fourth quarter as the Knicks went on a 15-7 closing run for their first win of the season after three straight losses.

Motor City Cruise dropped to a 3-1 record.

McBride shot 15 of 26 from the field and went 5 for 9 from downtown. He was all over the court as he collected eight rebounds, seven assists, five steals, and one block in 44 minutes.

“I’m here to learn how to become an NBA point guard and run a team,” McBride said after his scintillating performance.

Sims had a monster double-double, delivering 17 points and 12 rebounds with three assists and two steals in 32 minutes of action.

The Knicks rookies provided several highlight plays but none bigger than the alley-oop connection that gave Westchester a 100-98 lead with 3:50 left.

Westchester played catchup three-fourths of the way until Sims’ dunk with 7:36 left put the Knicks on top, 93-91. It was a nip-and-tuck affair from thereon until Motor City grabbed a three-point separation on Cheick Diallo’s layup.

McBride’s last basket pushed the Knicks ahead, 104-103, then Blake Francis and Jordan Allen iced the contest. Allen was the only other Knicks player in double figures with 11 points.

McBride and Sims are expected to be recalled on Wednesday as the New York Knicks host the streaking Dallas Mavericks at the Madison Square Garden.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks’ Derrick Rose gives rookie center Jericho Sims words of wisdom

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When it comes to rookie center Jericho Sims, the New York Knicks are incredibly high on his potential. Standing at 6’9″ and 250-pounds, Sims has a lot of developmental work left ahead of him, which is why he would likely spend the majority of the 2021–22 season with the team’s G-League squad.

However, Sims has the potential to be a long-term solution at center, especially after a dominant performance on the boards in the Knicks’ most recent preseason win over the Washington Wizards.

Sims recorded 13 rebounds, three of which were offensive. He tallied seven points, shooting 50% from the field. While his stats show a quality game, Sims is weak in a few areas, including defensive positioning and communication.

Veteran point guard Derrick Rose indicated that Sims has immense potential, but he needs to learn how to be more communicative. Rose, similarly to Sims, is an introvert, and he has tasked himself with helping the Texas product break out of his shell.

“My job of being a vet is trying to get him to break out of that shell because as a big you have to be able to talk and communicate,” Rose said, per the NY Daily News. “And [coach Tom Thibodeau] is not going to allow him to be quiet on the court. So it’s my job to help the big guy with that.”

Being aware of your surroundings is an integral part of playing the center position, which is something that Sims will gain with experience. The team currently has Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson slated ahead of Sims on the roster, but that doesn’t mean their plans don’t include him in the future. Gibson is essentially on a one-year contract, and Robinson has one year left on his rookie deal. It is entirely possible they let Gibson walk next season and elevate Sims to the active roster, utilizing him as their primary backup.

Rose continued to offer his expertise to the young professional, insisting that paying attention is one of his most important lessons derived from playing with some of the best big men in the league.

“I told him no matter what, if I got the ball, if I jump in the air, always pay attention to me until I get rid of the ball,” Rose said. “Because sometimes I jump in the air and just to throw a fake pass just to give it to him for a lay-up. So just telling him everything I told Joakim [Noah] or any other big that I played with: to always keep their eyes on me so that they could get easy baskets.”

The Knicks have one final preseason game against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday evening, presenting Sims with the final opportunity to showcase his qualities. While I wouldn’t entirely rule out the concept of carrying Sims over into the regular season as a roster member, he will likely find his way down to the G-League at some point. Ultimately, it will be good for him to earn minutes against some quality players, and if he continues to grow, his time at MSG will come.

Knicks Injury Update: Mitchell Robinson cleared for some contact

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

On Wednesday, New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau provided an encouraging update on the status of their young center, Mitchell Robinson.

More than six months since he underwent surgery to repair a broken foot, Robinson has been medically cleared to take some contact. But the Knicks remain cautious and not in a rush to bring back the 23-year old center to the active lineup.

[He’s been cleared for] Some contact but he hasn’t gone through contact [drills] in practice,” Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s practice. “So that would be the next step. You can’t go from zero to a hundred, there’s a build-up that he has to go through.”

Robinson, according to Thibodeau, looks great in practice despite being limited to non-contact drills. He didn’t provide a specific timeline for when Robinson will progress to the last hurdle of his recovery.

“He’s coming along. Again, we’re not going to rush it. But he’s making progress every day. He’s doing more and more so we just have to be patient,” Thibodeau said.

“We work our way through it and when he’s ready to go, he’ll go. But he gives us an added dimension. So he’s done a good job with all the things that he can do. He’s picking things up in practice basically doing non-contact [drills] in practice. So the next step will be the contact and then once you can get through that then he’ll be ready to go.”

The Knicks picked up an impressive win in their preseason opener against Indiana Pacers despite the continued absence of Robinson in the lineup. Nerlens Noel also did not play though Thibodeau said he was given the day off. The plan is to rest a key rotation player in each preseason game.

“[We’re] Just letting it happen organically that when someone needs a day [off], they get it,” Thibodeau said. “Our job is to make sure everyone is ready and so every day, everyone who’s here we’re working with to prepare them for when their opportunity comes, and to Jericho’s credit when he was called upon, he was ready to go. And so we expect that of everyone.”

Rookie Jericho Sims, the 58th overall pick, came through with a solid performance in 24 minutes off the bench backing up the 36-year old veteran Taj Gibson.

Sims finished with eight points, six rebounds, and two assists, outworking the tandem of Indiana’s backup bigs Goga Bitadze and rookie Isaiah Jackson, who was selected 36 picks ahead of him.

Gibson stepped up big time as a starter. He was a game-high plus-minus +22 against the Pacers’ starting frontline of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. The Brooklyn native played a vital role in the Knicks’ sizzling first half that set the tone for the 125-104 rout. He collected 14 points (on 6-of-9 shooting), six rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block in 21 minutes.

The Knicks have three more preseason games before they open their season against Boston Celtics on Oct. 20. Thibodeau did not rule out Robinson returning in one of those games.

“If he can [return], great. If he can’t, that’s fine too. When he’s ready to go, he’ll go,” Thibodeau said. “His health is the priority and so he’s been cleared [for some contact] and that part is very encouraging. And now it’s the conditioning aspect of it to prepare him to play in an NBA game.”

The addition of Sims, who is eligible to play a maximum of 50 regular-season games as one of the Knicks’ two-way players, gives the Knicks some wiggle room to wait until Robinson is a hundred percent ready.

“I’m anxious to see what we look like when Mitch comes back. Obviously, Nerlens is a terrific shot blocker and rim protector and Taj has been great insurance for us. And I thought Jericho gave us really good minutes [Tuesday] night. And he’s a young guy that is learning and he’ll get better as we go along,” Thibodeau said.

While Thibodeau is anxious for Robinson’s return, that has to take a backseat for a while as he’s preoccupied with bringing along his new backcourt of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to his system.

So far, he liked what he saw in their preseason debut.

“They fit well because they’re interchangeable and Kemba can play with and without the ball and Julius (Randle) can play with and without it. Evan can do the same. RJ (Barrett) can do the same,” Thibodeau said.

“So I think if we play with movement and we share the ball and make the right rim read and the thing I like about all those four guys are terrific downhill players. So if we get downhill then make the right rim reads then the game becomes easy for everyone. Just make quick decisions and I thought we did that.”

All starters finished in double figures, and their ball movement was crisp.

Walker commanded the pick and roll well — pulling up for mid-range jumpers when he was open and passing the ball when he got blitzed. He finished with 12 p points on 50 percent shooting and added four assists in 21 minutes.

Fournier moved without the ball and created opportunities off the dribble. The Frenchman swingman had 12 points and went 5-of-6 from the stripes.

Barrett benefited from his new backcourt’s scoring threat as he got wide open several times. He pounced on the opportunity and scored 17 points on 50 percent shooting, including 3-for-6 from the outside.

Randle still came away with a near double-double of 20 points and nine rebounds despite not dominating the ball as frequently as he did last season. He did that in three quarters. But the most significant impact of the addition of Walker and Fournier to the staring unit was on Randle’s game was the quality of shots. His efficiency improved as he hit 50 percent of his shots against the Pacers.

“So you’re also trying to get ready for a season because you only have four [preseason] games,” Thibodeau said. “You know we have two new guys that we have to get into our rotation along with Mitch combing back and so that’s going to be the priority.

“And then the development of the young guys, that’s going to come in practice and we have to make sure when the ball goes up at the start of the season we’re ready to go.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New format awaits Westchester Knicks in G League

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Jericho Sims, the New York Knicks‘ 58th pick in the NBA Draft, will have more games to develop with the Westchester Knicks in the reformatted G League season.

The new G League format will feature two tournaments within the season.  On top of the 36-game regular season, a 14-game expanded Showcase Cup will bring the total games to 50 for each team.

The Showcase Cup tips off on Nov. 5 and will conclude at the annual NBA G League Winter Showcase from Dec. 19-22. Meanwhile, the regular season begins on Dec. 27.

The G League Ignite is the pathway program of the NBA for the top high school prospects who didn’t go the college route.

In the Showcase Cup, the 29 regular teams and the G League Ignite will be divided into four regional pods where they will play 12 games against each other in NBA G League markets.

The teams with the best winning percentage in each regional pod and the next top four teams across the league will advance to the single-elimination NBA G League Winter Showcase.

Team records will reset in the 36-game regular season as the NBA G League Ignite and expansion team Capitanes de la Ciudad de México will only play in the Showcase Cup. The top six teams in each conference will qualify for the NBA G League playoffs.

The Knicks will open their Showcase Cup schedule against Capital City Go-Go in back-to-back road games on Nov. 5 and 6.

Their regular season tips off against the Lakeland Magic in similar back-to-back road games on Dec. 28 and 30.

Sims, who signed a two-way contract with the Knicks, averaged 8.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, one assist, and one block in the NBA Summer League. He shot a staggering 81 percent from the field. As a two-way player, Sims is eligible to join the Knicks’ active roster up to 50 games in the regular season.

Joining Sims in the Knicks’ G League team is former UCLA point guard Jaylen Hands, acquired from the Long Island Nets on Monday. The Knicks sent the returning rights of Bryce Brown to the Nets in exchange for Hands, the 56th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Hands played overseas last season, averaging 8.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 12 games for the FMP of the ABA League First Division and Basketball League of Serbia.

MJ Walker and Aamir Simms, who played for the Knicks Summer League team in Las Vegas, will likely join Sims and Hands in the G League. The Knicks signed both Walker and Simms to an Exhibit 10 deal last month.

Walker averaged 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in three games with the Knicks’ Summer League team. On the other hand, Simms posted 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in four games in Las Vegas.

The rest of the Westchester Knicks roster is expected to be announced in the next coming days.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

Could the Knicks elevate Jericho Sims to the active roster during 2021-22 season?

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The New York Knicks overhauled various positions this off-season but retained multiple players that featured during the 2020-21 campaign. The front office extended two centers: Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson over the next few seasons.

Gibson, who is 36-years-old and played in 45 games last year for the Knicks, averaged 5.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and shot 63% from the field. Ultimately, he is well beyond his prime and offers more mentorship than actual production on the court.

During the postseason, Gibson‘s presence was essential, as he provided energy and defense off the bench. However, Gibson doesn’t offer much in the scoring department and will likely serve as a third-string option on the roster this upcoming season. However, one young rookie could take a spot. The Knicks might want to consider an alternative direction after a strong Summer League performance by Texas product, Jericho Sims.

It is important to keep in mind that the Knicks extended Gibson on a two-year, $10 million deal, with an out after the first season that will cost $4.9 million in base salary. The likelihood of Sims making the active roster is slim, but he will be one of their primary options in case of any injuries or deficiencies at the center position.

While Sims might not be an immediate impact player, he could very well play a part this upcoming year, especially after Mitchell Robinson suffered multiple injuries that forced him out for the majority of last season. In that scenario, Sims could find himself on the bench, picking up minutes over Gibson, who is athleticism is degrading with age.

During Summer League play, Sims averaged 28 minutes per game over five contests. He posted 8.2 points, shooting 81% from the field, including 8.2 rebounds, with 2.2 of them being offensive. He showed unparalleled athleticism getting above the rim and succeeding off the pick-and-roll. With solid point guard play, which Immanuel Quickley provided during his dominance stretch, Sims has the potential to be a great player in the future.

The Knicks signed Sims to a two-way contract as the 58th pick in the draft. At 6’10” and 245-pounds, he seems to be a far different talent compared to the previous players selected at that same spot. Aside from his solid scoring abilities, Sims also seems to be a quality defender, blocking the interior with physicality and anticipation. He only trailed Obi Toppin in rebounds, who finished with 8.3 this summer.

Expect Jericho to be a G-League regular this upcoming year, but with Gibson on a one-year contract essentially, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sims take on a bigger role during the 2022-23 season. In the meantime, focusing on his development and how we can translate his skills for the NBA is a priority.

Can Knicks’ Jericho Sims sneak his way onto the roster for the 2021-22 season?

jericho sims, knicks

The New York Knicks walked away from the Summer League ecstatic about their young talent. Ranging from second-year guard Immanuel Quickley to 58th overall pick Jericho Sims, each individual player offered tremendous production and efficiency.

With expectations being blown out of the water, the Knicks have a few difficult decisions to make, and one of them lands with Jericho, who offered incredible athleticism and physicality in the paint.

At 6″10′ and 245-pounds, Sims averaged 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks last season with Texas in the Big 12. Averaging 24.5 minutes per game, he connected on 70% of his shots from the field and 52% from the free-throw line. While there are some categories he needs to improve upon, he averaged 28 minutes per game during Summer League play, contributing 8.2 points on 81% shooting from the field. He also offered 8.2 rebounds per contest and one block per game.

Sims is a long shot to make the active roster, given the existence of Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson. The Knicks are extremely confident that Robinson will make a full recovery from a fractured foot he suffered last season, and retained Noel on a three-year contract. Gibson also completed a two-year, $10.1 million extension with New York at 36 years old.

How can Jericho Sims make an impact with the Knicks?

Sims will have to fight tooth and nail to earn minutes, but the probability is he will land in the G League where he can continue developing and offer value when called upon. The Knicks considered pushing him to a forward spot, but with adequate depth, Sims doesn’t seem like a likely fit. He will offer situational play and youth if need be, especially if injuries begin to arise at the center position.

Jericho’s athleticism around the rim and ability to catch lobs off the pick-and-roll stands out. Sims should focus heavily on his defense, as that is the best way to get in the good graces of head coach Tom Thibodeau. Increasing his timing on block attempts and guarding the perimeter will make him an even more valuable piece moving forward.

The front office did sign Sims to a two-way contract, with the terms of the deal disclosed. However, if he can continue to grow and harness his capabilities, the Knicks could view him as an integral piece after the 2022-23 season. With Noel’s contract essentially a two-year deal and Gibson a one-year deal with no dead money next season, there is potential for him to be elevated after his rookie campaign.

The Knick set themselves up quite nicely for the future, and the emergence of Sims likely has them grinning at their financial decisions. Of course, impressing during the Summer League is exciting, but until he can provide that same effectiveness during live action in a regular-season game, it is all just hype.

Just how great did the Knicks’ rookies look to close out the Summer League?

quentin grimes, knicks

The New York Knicks emerged victorious against the Atlanta Hawks in the final preseason game of the Summer League. The Knicks experienced ebbs and flows as they built chemistry and continuity with one another. Going out in style was exactly what the front office wanted to see from their youngsters, especially with the obvious development of Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.

However, it was the team’s rookies that stood out in the victory over Atlanta, combining for 51 points and hitting 11  3-PT shots.

The team walked away victorious by a score of 104-85, pummeling Atlanta and showcasing some of their youth talents. After a 28 point performance against the Detroit Pistons, 25th overall pick Quentin Grimes posted 26 points, six rebounds, three assist, and shot 58.8% from the field. He also connected on 50% of his shots from range, displaying his ability to curate shots for himself but also open up the floor for others.

Over six games, Grimes average 32.8 minutes, including 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and picked up 0.5 steals per game. With his clear-cut progression as the Summer League chugged along, Grimes’s impact will end up being essential for a team that will ultimately create rotations to help mitigate fatigue for the regular starters over the course of an entire season. Over the final three Summer League games, Grimes combine for 66 points. He showcased solid defense, three-point shooting, shot creation, and even portrayed vision as a facilitator.

However, fellow rookie Miles McBride also had a stand-out performance, scoring 19 points and picking up four assists in the win. He shot 70% from the field and hit five three-pointers, good for a 62.5% three-point percentage.

McBride averaged 27.7 minutes per game, posting 15.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He also tallied 1.3 steals per game, a solid number that showed his defensive prowess and quick hands. McBride exceeded expectations valiantly, and if he continues to play like this during the regular season, Tom Thibodeau could begin favoring him in specific situations.

It is clear the West Virginia product has plenty of potential as not only a defensive weapon but also a three-point shooter. Increasing his comfort and vision on the court will only make him a more well-rounded point guard. McBride could be the future at the position for the Knicks, despite Immanuel Quickley looking the part, averaging 20.2 points over 33.5 minutes per game. Quickley also posted a fantastic 7.8 assists per contest, showcasing his efficiency as a facilitator.

One low-key rookie who made a name for himself is Jericho Sims, who average 28 minutes per game. He logged 8.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game. His athleticism above the rim and physicality down low could earn him a roster spot.

Overall, the Knicks saw tremendous value from their rookies, displaying potential nobody expected. The Knicks’ coaching staff is already showing how valuable they can be helping players evolve in such a short period of time.

Obi Toppin says Knicks rookies are showing why they should play next season

new york knicks

The New York Knicks have upgraded their roster via free agency while maintaining their depth to build on the momentum of their first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Knicks went into the NBA Summer League with a primary focus on Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley’s development as leaders, and they are getting more than what they bargained.

Toppin and Quickley have been balling out in their first NBA Summer League after the event was scratched last year due to the pandemic. The Knicks’ sophomores have been included in The Athletic’s NBA Draft analyst Sam Vecenie’s ‘Too Good for Summer League Team,’ while their rookies have shown plenty of promise.

“It’s been great being out there with those guys, leading those guys, and pushing those guys. Everybody on that team has a heart and loves the hustle. When you’re playing with a bunch of dogs, then your team is fun,” Toppin said after the Knicks chalked up their third win in five Summer League games last Saturday.

In a true Tom Thibodeau fashion, Toppin (36.5 minutes) and Quickley (34.5 minutes) lead the NBA Summer League in playing time. Knicks Summer League coach Daisuke “Dice” Yoshimoto has referred to them as leaders of this team.

Toppin has been productive, averaging 23.0 points (no. 4 in scoring), 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks while shooting 46 percent from the floor and making 2.2 3s per game.

“Obi put in a lot of time over the summer. And it showed. He’s gonna continue to get better, put time in, and the result will gonna take care of itself,” Yoshimoto said. “This is his chance to showcase who he is. He’s gonna continue to put his time in, work hard, and build the right habits.”

The biggest takeaway here is Toppin can produce when used right. Toppin was able to show his potential as a rim runner, roll man, and pick and pop big man as opposed to his ill-fitted role last season as a floor-spacing big man just waiting in the corner.

On the other hand, Quickley, despite his shaky shooting (38 percent overall, 25 percent from 3) in Las Vegas, has made great strides as a lead guard with his 8.0 assists ranking third behind traditional point guards — Atlanta rookie Sharife Cooper (9.0) and Boston’s sophomore Payton Pritchard (8.7). Quickley also averages 21.8 points (no. 7) to go with 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

Their rookies Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, Jericho Sims, and their pick-and-stash Rokas Jokubaitis, who left for Spain, have followed their lead.

“All those guys are doing great. Quick (Quickley) has been doing a great job with Deuce (McBride) and Quentin (Grimes). Jericho (Sims) has been doing a great job listening to all of us and doing his part. Every rookie on [our] team is doing good, and they’re showing Thibs why they should be on the court next season,” Toppin said.

Heeding the advice of Allan Houston and Penny Hardaway, Grimes finally looked like the 3-and-D guy the Knicks have drafted in their last two games, scoring 15 and 28 points, after groping for form in his first three games.

McBride has been stellar running the point in Quickley’s absence (due to a sore groin) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. McBride scored a personal Summer League-best 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting and handed out five assists while playing solid defense (four rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot).

Through five games, McBride, the 36th pick overall, is averaging 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.4 steals with a 50/46/88 shooting split.

Sims has made his first 10 field goals and is leading the Summer League in field goal percentage (88.2 percent) among players who have played at least three games and attempted at least four field goals per game. In four games, Sims has put up 8.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks.

“They are gonna continue to put their time in and get better. Let’s see where they are at training camp,” Yoshimoto said.

Toppin attributed their great on-court chemistry to the culture they had been building in New York since Thibodeau’s arrival last year.

“I feel like just the brotherhood we’ve built. Everybody on our team is very close. We hang out with each other every single day. And we love to compete. Every time we step on that floor, we give it our 110 percent every game, and we’ve got to continue doing that for the season,” Toppin said.

The Knicks will close out their Summer League play against the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. Monday. Toppin and the Knicks are raring to come out with a bang.

“I think one thing we need to focus on is just lock in defensively — having our best defensive game and just having fun out there,” Toppin said. “So, it’s gonna be our last Summer League game, and we need to make a statement going into the new season.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Too Quick, Too Hot: Quickley lifts Knicks past Pacers in NBA Summer League

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After a jittery start to his first NBA Summer League, Immanuel Quickley got the perfect advice from New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

“Just be yourself,” Quickley revealed.

And he looked like the Quickley that the Knicks have stolen with the 25th pick in last year’s NBA draft and was named to the All-Rookie NBA Team.

After a brutal 5-for-17 shooting in the Knicks’ 89-79 loss to the Toronto Raptors Sunday, Quickley bounced back strong with a game-high 32 points built around 11-of-21 field goals.

He was perfect six-for-six from the line and added eight assists against a single turnover. The guard out of Kentucky also had two steals in a solid game on both ends of the floor.

“Last game, I was kinda trying to find my way and get everybody involved,” Quickley said. “In this game, I’m kinda trying to do both but just a little bit more aggressive, help my teammates and be more of a leader.”

Quickley did much of the damage in the second half, dropping 23 points and six assists where the Knicks outscored the Pacers by 11 points.

Obi Toppin, who fed off Quickley’s point guard play, had another strong outing with 22 points and nine rebounds but had five turnovers.

Toppin started the game aggressively but a little bit out of control. He committed four of the Knicks’ 10 turnovers in the first quarter and missed three baskets around the rim, including a flubbed dunk in his first attempt. But once he got settled and played in the flow of things, the sophomore forward was a wrecking ball.

Two days after the Knicks lost to Atlanta Hawks in the first round, Quickley and Toppin were reportedly back in the gym.

“That’s what the Knicks culture is — working hard, enjoying the work, and getting better,” Quickley said. “We’re really excited for the Summer League team. We’re really excited for the next season. We just want to continue to get better and take the steps to move forward.”

The Knicks have prioritized getting Quickley more reps as a point guard in his first Summer League play. So far, the 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio had been impressive. He said he’s looking forward to soaking in more lessons from Derrick Rose and the newly acquired Kemba Walker.

Meanwhile, fan-favorite Jericho Sims stayed perfect in the NBA Summer League with an eight-point, nine-rebound effort. He was 4-for-4 from the field after going 6-for-6 in his debut. Sims, who signed a two-way deal reportedly for two years per Keith Smith of Spotrac, has been a revelation.

“He played phenomenal running the floor and catching lobs in traffic,” freelance NBA scout Tony Coleman told Empire Sports Media. “He’s playing solid defense on the other side of the ball. He’s definitely a steal in my humble opinion.”

Coleman is in Las Vegas for his scouting trip.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian guard Rokas Jokubaitis, the Knicks’ 36th pick, finally made his Knicks debut contributing three points and one assist in nine minutes.

Jokubaitis, a healthy DNP in the Knicks’ first game, was given more run this time than Luca Vildoza. Knicks Summer League coach Dice Yoshimoto even experimented with a three-guard lineup featuring Jokubaitis, Miles McBride, and Vildoza, who went scoreless in four minutes but managed to grab a rebound and one steal.

The Knicks’ first-round pick, Quentin Grimes, had another rough shooting game with six points on 2-for-10 shooting in almost 35 minutes. Matched against NBA Draft Day target Chris Duarte, Grimes committed five fouls. Duarte had a solid debut filling up the stats sheet with 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two shot blocks. The 24-year old Duarte played with so much poise and shot 4-of-8 from the field, including 3-for-7 from deep.

The Knicks’ other second-round pick, McBride, put an exclamation point to their win and his impressive game with a dunk.

With Thibodeau in attendance, McBride showed the toughness and tenacity that made the Knicks coach fall in love with his game. He scattered 14 points (5-of-7 from the field), three rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

On Wednesday, the Knicks will return to action against the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 pm ET on ESPN2.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo 

Did the Knicks land a steal in Jericho Sims? | Texas product dominates in first Summer League game

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It wasn’t until late in the draft that the New York Knicks landed Texas big man Jericho Sims, who signed a two-way deal early on Sunday before posting an eye-opening performance in his NBA debut during the 2021 Summer League.

Sims can compete in a maximum of 50 NBA games this upcoming season on his new contract. However, the team might be looking to offer him a longer deal if he continues dominating in the paint and showcasing incredible athleticism.

In the loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Sims played nearly 22 minutes. During his time on the floor, he connected on six field goals, hitting 100% of his shots. He also posted six defensive rebounds, two offensive rebounds, and one block, making him the only Knick to have a positive +/-.

Surprisingly, he dominated the game, at one point landing a beautiful alley-oop from Immanuel Quickley in which he seemed to levitate above the rim before slamming it down on the defender’s head.

“Jericho, man, does he jump really high,’’ fellow dunker Obi Toppin said. “Jericho is a sponge and loves to learn and get better. He’s going to be a really good player.’’

At 6’10”, Sims electrified the team, scoring 12 points. While the entire team shot just 37%, his success elevated that number. He is known as a classic defensive specialist but also has bouncy athleticism that could translate well in the transition game at the NBA level.

Last year with Texas, Sims averaged 9.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. He also connected on 70% of his shots, making him a traditional big man that dominates around the rim.

Sims indicated the Knicks simply want him to be a “rim runner,” hovering in the paint and taking advantage of good point guard play.

“That’s what they had planned for me,’’ Sims said of his contract. “Right now. I can do other things, but [rim-runner] is what they want me to do right now.’’

The majority of scouts coined him a defensive weapon, but it was quite clear he can also contribute offensively, especially when the defense breaks down. The Knicks have a ton of quality shooters who will force defenses to spread the floor, opening up the pick-and-roll game for athletic big men like Jericho.

If he continues performing like this, he could find himself sitting on the bench to open the year, but it would take a tremendous Summer League display to put him in a position of leverage.