For decades, Madison Square Garden has been a pit of despair when it comes to pro hoops. Aside from lack of culture, bad coaching and haunting decisions by the front office among other things, the poor results from the New York Knicks stem from a lack of skill at the point guard position.
Since 2000, the Knicks have had to run with Chris Duhon, Toney Douglas, Raymond Felton, Jeremy Lin, Toure’ Murray, Chris Smith, Shane Larkin, Jerian Grant, Brandon Jennings, Alexey Shved, Ramon Sessions, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kadeem Allen and Elfrid Payton at the point guard position, among others. That has led to a ton of memories, 99% of them forgettable ones.
This season has proved no different to some Knicks fans. With the exception of a handful of vintage moments, Kemba Walker busted and it’s well known that he is no longer with the team despite that fine paycheck he is receiving courtesy of the Knicks. Derrick Rose was playing well at the position before his ankle soreness in December turned into a surgery with an eight-week recovery he has yet to return from.
So with Walker away and Rose, one would figure Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau would look at his young guards to throw into the starting five, right?
No. He chooses a forward in Alec Burks.
But with his hands tied, Thibodeau has run more Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride over the last few games. Both have done the most out of the minutes.
But fans are still doubtful if the Knicks have their answer at point guard.
They do: The kid from Maryland who went to Kentucky.
Over the last 7 games, Quickley has scored 16.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 47% from the field, 46% from deep and 88% from the line in 25 minutes a night.
Some fans want a bigger sample size. Fair.
Since just after Valentine’s Day, which is 17 games, Quickley has scored 15.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game while shooting 47% from the field, 43% from deep and 90% from the line. Over that same time, he has scored in double digits in every game with the exception of three games. He has shown performances in which he hauls in 10 rebounds or dishing six or seven assists.
He pushes the pace, which makes him fun to watch with Obi Toppin and Jericho Sims. Seen below, his fast pace while the Hornets get back to set their defense for McBride leads to an easy, open three.
IQ brings pace that gets NYK open looks without having to work so dam hard in the halfcourt.
This is so simple – it’s just a really quick push off a MAKE – and CHA isn’t matched up in time. That’s so EASY. pic.twitter.com/jm5gVHGWiH
— Rit Holtzman (@BenRitholtzNBA) March 24, 2022
His defense is getting better, too. He does have an affinity to play harassing on-ball defense. There is still much room to grow on defense. Remember, Quickley stands at 6’3”, but was blessed with a 6’10” wingspan.
Here’s the stuff that makes you more excited about IQ as a prospect. His shot didn’t fall tonight (1-7 3PT), but he flexed his playmaking (7 AST, 2 TO) & showed out on D. He was +9.
This is stickem on-ball D against one of the hardest checks in the NBA:
— analyKnicks (@_analyKnicks) November 28, 2021
He also isn’t bad when it comes to protecting the rim, interestingly enough.
IQ stays being an oddly effective deterrent at the rim. For the yr opponents are shooting 9.2% worse (52.2 FG% allowed vs 61.4% expected) on him
2nd clip: Deuce seamlessly switches onto Luka to keep him in front. Evan (awful y'day) brainlessly switches off Bertans, but IQ covers pic.twitter.com/DVL5ZiYi7y
— ShwinnyPooh (@shwinnypooh) March 10, 2022
Yes, he takes some ill-advised three pointers, but who do you trust in taking those shots on this team? The team has missed that kind of player for years as we continue to watch the sport and the league evolve.
Some people are miserable and think basketball is played on an analytical spreadsheet and claim Quickley isn’t the answer. Those same nerds are the ones who claim RJ Barrett is hurting this basketball team.
A ton of basketball analytics would put Quickley at a level that would shock some. Quickley ranks in the 84th percentile on offense and 84th on defense, placing him in the 88th percentile overall, which ranks better than Bradley Beal, Anthony Edwards, Klay Thompson and Alec Burks, to name a few.
The LEBRON metric has Quickley in the 90th percentile on offense and 55th percentile on defense, placing him in the 90th percentile overall, which ranks better than LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Klay Thompson and Alec Burks.
The RAPTOR metrics has Quickley in the 85th percentile on offense and 77th percentile on defense, placing him in the 90th percentile overall, which ranks better than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Seth Curry, Tyler Herro and Lonzo Ball.
Some fans prefer to choose their players after reading a spreadsheet. Most prefer to do it the old fashioned way: the eye test. No matter which way fans choose their players and choose their sides when it comes to athletes, both sides have to come to an agreement that Immanuel Quickley is the best option at the guard position for the New York Knicks.