One day, Immanuel Quickley does not come down from the bench. A week later, he is a fan favorite, the alleged answer to the Knicks’ problems.
It happened quickly for the second choice in the first round of the team. Five impressive pre-season quarters and angry fans of the team seem to be in love with him.
“It was very nice to see,” Quickley said Monday after training at Zoom. “Just a blessing, thank God for the opportunity to be in New York and be a Knick. …. I’m glad I’m here. “
After helping the Knicks walk past the Knights in the third showdown game, the 6-foot-3 goalie was a star in the final as a starter, scoring 22 points and adding five assists and five steals in a blast. Cavs. After that game, coach Tom Thibodeau said that Quickley has a chance to become a starter if he continues to perform, adding that he was given the opportunity due to his hard work in practice.
It seems likely that Quickley will leave the bench on Wednesday against the opening Pacers, as a backup for veteran Elfrid Payton. Payton started the first three pre-season games and finished fourth with a minor hamstring problem. Thibodeau did not disclose his headlines, although he said that the performance will exceed the experience, as he said during the pre-season.
“It’s all about merit,” said the first-year Knicks coach. “Evaluate the practice, who practices well, take this further with the games, take that information. If someone trains well, it is important for us and when you have your pre-season games, if they play well and the team works well when they are on the floor, this is also important. Play the people you feel will give you the best chance of winning. “
It’s been two wild months for the former Kentucky star and SEC player of the year. On draft night, it was a surprising selection from the first round of the Knicks, ranking 25th overall, despite being projected in the middle of the second round. Expectations were low. He didn’t even come off the bench in the pre-season opener and played nine such minutes in the second game.
In the third contest, Quickley won praise for winning a comeback with nine points and seven assists in 24 minutes and getting started in the fourth and final pre-season game with Payton out.
“I don’t think it surprised any of us,” Payton said. “We know he has talent. … It’s not really surprising. “
Quickley showed two factors for his perfect transition, after waiting so long, from March to October, to find out where he will play.
Payton, Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., who have been competing for minutes, provided guidance. Everyone helped him.
The other factor is the two years spent in Kentucky. He was pushed daily by coach John Calipari and his staff. It took minutes.
“I feel like I’m coming from Kentucky,” Quickley said. “I really have an advantage in moving to the NBA.”
How much remains to be seen. The games start on a good Wednesday. At the very least, Quickley has gained a chance to prove he can contribute.