The Knicks are clearly running out of games to give them one last push for the playoffs, but Immanuel Quickley, finally shattering the dreaded sophomore slump, was one of several compelling factors for them to have even the slightest chance.
The sophomore guard has emerged from a nearly two-month shootout with five straight strong offensive performances, including 48 points off the bench in the team’s back-to-back road wins this week against the Clippers and the Kings.
“Quick is playing great. I think the greatest thing about him is that he’s playing freely,” Julius Randle said of Quickley after scoring a career-high 46 points in Monday night’s victory in Sacramento. “He kind of clears his head and goes out and makes hoops and trusts his work.
“He’s probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever encountered, especially for such a young kid. So he just has to keep going, keep playing.”
Quickley’s shot had betrayed him for at least six weeks in early 2022, averaging 6.6 points while averaging just 30.7 percent from the field and 26.6 percent from 3-point range over a 19-game stretch through Feb. 25 reached.
However, early in Wednesday’s game in Dallas against the rising Mavericks (winners of 11 of their last 13 games), Quickley is averaging 18.8 points per game and shooting 52.0 percent (13 to 25) from 3-point range in his last five appearances .
“He’s really progressing now,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. “Obviously the way the game was managed last year was different than this year, but I think he’s figured it out now. It was a change for him, but he figured it out. So he’s playing at a high level and I think he’s simplified things now.
“I think when he’s open he shoots. If he’s guarded, he makes the game. He plays really great defence, frantic. He bounces the ball and does a lot of really good things. He is smart. He’s not afraid of big moments. When he plays like that, he’s really, really good.”
Even as he broke down offensively, Quickley, 22, emphasized that he was focusing on other areas of his game to make an impact.
“I feel like I’m defending a little bit better so that helped me and tried to hit back a little bit more. Finding ways to influence the game other than just scoring goals, that always helps,” Quickley said. “And I have some great teammates. R.J [Barrett] and Julius played great [in Sacramento] and we’re getting some wins now, so that’s what it’s all about.”
With Kemba Walker closed for the seasonDerrick Rose has been out since December with ankle surgery and rookie Quentin Grimes has also been out of the past six games with a knee injury, with Thibodeau even holding on with Quickley and rookie Miles McBride (20th minute) as his backcourt duo for much of the fourth quarter against the Kings.
“I just think as a player, he’s who he is,” Randle said of Quickley. “He doesn’t really worry about playmaking and stuff like that. He’s a goalscorer. He’s a Sagittarius. He can shoot the ball and knows how to put the ball in the basket. That’s what he is at heart and he doesn’t worry that much about the other things.
“And I’m not saying he can’t. He can. But of course those things will happen when he is who he is, which is a goalscorer. And because he’s working on all the other stuff, he’ll have counterattacks and he’ll be able to pull that off, but of course all he has to do is put the ball in the basket. He does.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/08/knicks-immanuel-quickley-emerging-from-slump-just-in-time/ Immanuel Quickley von Knicks comes out of the crisis just in time