No one expects perfection from Immanuel Quickley, especially this early in his career. But his early struggles do warrant some concern among the Knicks faithful.
Immanuel Quickley first 7 games of season
20-21: 5.7 points on 26/22 shooting
20-22: 5.4 points on 26/21 shooting
Last season, he averaged 12 points on 40/40 shooting the rest of the way. Don't sleep on IQ.
— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) November 2, 2021
Ahead of tonight’s Pacers game, these are Quickley’s stats through the first seven games of the season.
Knowing he averaged better percentages as the year went on is certainly encouraging. Factor in, also, that he had a similar experience in college, it would appear that Quickley has a history of streaky shooting.
Sadly, streaky shooting won’t be a good thing for the Knicks for the entirety of the season. The Knicks have already lost two games that were in the palms of their hands. I’m not blaming Quickley for either loss, but his inefficiency certainly added to the problem(s).
He’s poised for improvement, it might just take time.
With the Knicks vying for playoff contention again, we can only hope it comes sooner than later.
The NBA has a steep learning curve, and unless you’re LeBron James, who was gifted with elite basketball intelligence and talent, that learning curve is going to hit you hard.
Knowing myself as a Knick fan, I get frustrated very easily when the guys I’ve hyped up so much have a continuous struggle with getting the ball to go in the basket.
What baffles me most about his inability to score right now is that he’s taking all the right shots, they’re just not falling. Thankfully, he’s been dishing the ball around more as well, which has shown the dividends of his work ethic this offseason.
We caught glimpses of this in Summer League, where he reached assist numbers as high as nine (the highest he got if I’m not mistaken).
Quickley clearly has the basketball IQ necessary to continue getting rotation minutes for the Knicks. In fact, despite shooting a putrid sub-30%, it seems Tom Thibodeau trusts him enough to continue playing minutes off the bench. Granted, Quickley is down about five minutes per game from last season’s average of 19.4 minutes per game.
Going back to Quickley’s work ethic for a moment; I fully expect him to bounce back and erase this slump from existence.
We’ve seen the tape of him at practice. We’ve seen the footage of him putting up shots after games. If Obi Toppin, once the most timid player on the team, can turn his image around like he has, Quickley can do that and more.
While that’s on Quickley to prove, it’s up to the revamped development team to get to work as well.
Shot selection, facilitation, and versatility are the roots to unlocking Quickley to the fullest.
When Johnnie Bryant and company work with Quickley and help hone his imperfections, we can expect a very different version of the player we’ve seen.
Is that happening? We can see it’s at least in the process. Quickley has attempted more layups this season than ever before — I don’t have exact numbers here, but I’ve certainly seen more regular layups from him this year overall.
Adding depth to this scoring is only going to promote growth, which is partly why the slump he’s in doesn’t make me as mad as it could.
Change is on the horizon
Again, Thibodeau trusts in Quickley’s role on this team. We all can, too.
Expecting a second-year player to suddenly evolve after one season is unfair of the fans to ask for. He’ll get back into rhythm, at which point we’ll be thankful again.
It’s like something I saw someone say on Twitter, “If you’re going to be patient with RJ Barrett, then show Quickley that same patience.”
Consider, too, some of the disappointment people had with Toppin last season.
Being so hard on the younger players on the roster is something we have to collectively ease up on. Like I said, I have a tendency of pursuing immediate gratification, despite knowing things take time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.
The Knicks’ emerging dynasty will need some molding and fine-tuning before we see anything close to a Conference Finals or Finals appearance.
Time is on our side
Appreciating the work, game by game, is the only method in which we can handle poor performances from the Knicks.
I bought a Quickley jersey because he stole my heart with some of his clutch play last year. I intend to “trust the process,” so to speak, as Quickley works his way out of his shooting slump.
Against a presently broken Pacers team, I’m anticipating a show from IQ.