How Knicks' Immanuel Quickley is making the case for Sixth Man of the Year
“I feel like we still have a long way to go, but we’ve made great strides and we’re going to continue to keep getting better.”
Immanuel Quickley said that the other night after the Knicks beat the Boston Celtics at MSG. He was talking about his team; he was also, inadvertently, describing himself.
Quickley has made “great strides” in his third NBA season. He’s one of the biggest reasons why the Knicks are 11 games over .500 over the past three months. Along the way, Quickley has put together a strong campaign for the NBA’s Sixth Man award.
The counting stats alone are impressive. Entering play Tuesday, Quickley was seventh among NBA reserves in total points, eighth in total assists and 19th in total rebounds.
He’s one of three reserves with at least 620 points, 145 assists and 200 rebounds. The others? Malcolm Brogdon and Russell Westbrook. Brogdon, Westbrook, Tyrese Maxey, Norman Powell, Bobby Portis and Malik Monk also have strong Sixth Man candidacies.
To qualify for the award, a player must come off the bench in more games than he starts.
Quickley will easily qualify. And if he finishes the season playing as well as he has over the past three months, Quickley will certainly be part of the discussion for the Sixth Man.
In the eight games prior to Wednesday’s game against Brooklyn, Quickley is averaging 15.8 points on 53 percent shooting (44 percent from beyond the arc), 2.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds. The team is 7-1 in those games.
The Knicks are 26-14 since Tom Thibodeau cut his rotation to nine players.
Quickley has been one of the biggest reasons behind that season-changing run. New York has a +11.1 net rating with him on the court in that span. He is averaging 13.6 points on 48 percent shooting (39 percent from three on 5 attempts per game) and has a 2.6-1 assist to turnover ratio.
His rebounding has also been impactful.
Only Brogdon (222) and Westrbrook (301) have more total rebounds than Quickley (201) among reserve guards.
Maybe the biggest boost to Quickley’s candidacy is New York’s record. Not many people had the Knicks at 36-27 at this point in the season. Obviously, you can make a similar case for Brogdon and Boston. But the Celtics were expected to be near the top of the Eastern Conference. You can also make the case that Maxey, Powell and Portis have contributed significantly to winning teams.
But Quickley’s net-rating of +7.0 on the season is far and away the best mark among that group.
So his numbers – and his impact on winning – suggest that Quickley should at least be part of the conversation.