The New York Knicks have found themselves in a spot they haven’t been in what feels like ages.
With the guards thriving when they touch the floor, the Knicks are sitting in 7th place in the Eastern Conference with a 13-15 record with about 40 percent of the schedule in the past.
However, one combination of guard play has been flourishing for the Knicks: Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau inexplicably continues to start Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock at guard when it comes time to tip. However, their play is incredibly mediocre and uninspiring when they are out there.
It’s Julius Randle and, more often than not, RJ Barrett, who is forced to step up and pick up the mediocre guard play every night.
Over his last eight games, on paper, Bullock’s numbers look good. In that span, Bullock has scored 76 points on 46% shooting, taking 59 shots. Efficient. He’s scored in double-digits twice. But, on tape, he doesn’t provide a spark, and it feels as if he doesn’t get a bucket when the Knicks need one.
Over the same span, on paper, Payton’s numbers look great. Payton has scored 109 points on 47% shooting over his last eight games and has scored in double-digits six times. However, 109 points on 102 shots are inefficient, no matter how one looks at it. Payton loves to drive, force up a layup, brick it, chase his own rebound, and lay it up and in. His first shot is always a terrible shot selection. Additionally, this season, the Knicks’ assist percentage, steal percentage, and block percentage rise when Payton sits.
The offensive rating rises from 108.1 to 109.7, and the team’s turnover percentage drops when he sits, too. When Payton is off the court, opponents’ effective field goal percentage drops from .511 to .483, along with their assist percentage and steal percentage. When Payton leaves the court, opponents’ turnover percentage rises, and their offensive rating drops from 110.4 to 106.3.
Luckily, Randle and Barrett’s play is enough to give the Knicks a slim lead by the time they need to rest. Then, Payton and Bullock sit, and Knicks fans rejoice and celebrate as they watch Rose and Quickley step on the court.
Reports say Rose has taken Quickley in and is mentoring him, and thus far, when they are on the court together, the chemistry is evident.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, through three games, the Knicks are outscoring their opponents by 42 points when Quickley and Rose are on the court.
That includes the 18-point difference between the Knicks and Rockets when Rose and Quickley were on the court together on Saturday.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, since acquiring Rose, the Knicks bench has the opponents by 74 points.
“It’s kind of like pickup; whoever gets it gets it. He told me if I get it, don’t look back at him, go out and hoop and do what I do, and I feel the same way for him,” Quickley said. “So it’s kind of like pick up. Whoever gets it gets it. And we kind of play off each other, and I feel like when you’re playing with somebody good, or great, really, it just makes the game a lot easier.”
The numbers and tape is right there in front of the whole world to see. Payton starting over Quickley should offend Knicks fans. On the left is Payton’s advanced stats compared to Quickley’s advanced stats on the right.
— Manny Rodríguez (@ERodriguez_TV) February 14, 2021
Knicks fans should look at this simple bar graph and rip his or her hair out.
Once Thibodeau opens his eyes and rolls out Quickley, Rose, Barrett, Randle, and Robinson, the bench probably won’t need to bail out the starters.
Featured Image: Getty Images