Most didn’t project that the New York Knicks would select Immanuel Quickley with the 25th overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft. In fact, Quickley was marked as a second-round talent heading into the draft, but he represents a fantastic shooting guard who can also develop into a starting point guard in the future.
During his first season in Kentucky, Quickley averaged 5.2 points and 1.2 assists per game over just 18.5 minutes on average. In year two, his minutes skyrocketed to 33 per game, averaging 16.1 points, 1.9 assists, and 4.2 total rebounds. Oddly, his ability to create plays was not his focal point, focusing more on his shooting efficiency and spreading the floor.
It is seeming that Quickley is very similar to former Knick Tim Hardaway Jr. in a few ways, but notably his ability to shoot the long ball and create space on the floor with his mobility. He’s not an elite passer or dribbler, but he did finish the 2019–20 season with a .417 field-goal percentage and .428 percentage from three-point land. He’s also a .923% free-throw shooter.
“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.
“Last year, we went to three guards. I wasn’t doing that early in the year, but as the year went on, I just said, ‘Immanuel Quickley, he needs to be starting.’ That means somebody else couldn’t start. [Quickley] ended up being Player of the Year in our league, but he trusted me to figure it out.”
The Knicks’ biggest struggle in 2019 was their ability from beyond the arc, ranking 27th in overall efficiency in that specific category. Quickley brings a smooth shooter and transition player to match up with eighth overall pick Obi Toppin.
With President Leon Rose electing to acquire draft capital instead of spending money on max contracts, it seems as if the Knicks are prioritizing their youth foundation and focusing on their development. This is extremely beneficial for players like Quickley, who otherwise wouldn’t have received significant minutes, hampering their progress. Hopefully, the 2020–21 season will offer plenty of value in terms of development, making the Knicks a more attractive team to free agents in the future.