To some people’s surprise, co-SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley was a first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Many expected the Kentucky starters not named Tyrese Maxey to be second-round picks, if taken at all.
However, the New York Knicks, a team that also took Obi Toppin at No. 8, jumped in the draft to bring in Quickley at No. 25. After being inactive for four of the Knicks first five games, Quickley starting to show why he was drafted so high.
One analyst who just so happened to by the Knicks former head coach, Jeff Van Gundy, couldn’t stop raving about what Quickly can do for a team and how solid of a pick was late in the first round.
“He knows how to draw fouls. He can shoot. He plays with great enthusiasm and energy. That’s a Charlie Ward-type pick to me. A guy who was drafted low, but can be a good player over a long period — most likely a starter at some part of his career. It’s a great draft pick ... If you have a guy who makes the rotation at that position in the draft, it’s an incredible success. That’s why I look at Charlie, getting a guy who can ultimately start. He’s not the same type of player. Quickley is more offensive-minded and Charlie was a much-better defender. But if you get a guy who’s in the rotation late in the draft, it’s an incredible accomplishment for your organization,” Van Gundy said per the NY Post’s Marc Berman.
Not including last night’s game against the Warriors, Quickley was averaging 17.5 points per game over his last four, having not played over 28 minutes in a single game throughout that stretch. He had 11 points in under 15 minutes against Orlando.
He shot 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from deep through that stretch. His efficiency and productivity have heads turning towards who figured out that he could be this good.
“Whoever was in charge of drafting Quickley needs to have an article dedicated to him. This was a guy looked at as a second-round pick. Someone went to bat for this guy and wanted this guy. He gives them real hope from an offensive standpoint,” Van Gundy said.
Quickley is a player that’s elite because he has a lot in his bag. He can shoot, both off the dribble and spot up; he can drive and score and can defend at a capable level despite his undersized 6-foot-3 frame.
One of Quickley’s most notable traits has been his elite floater, something he perfected at Kentucky. With the Knicks, he’s been getting into the lane and floating it up often enough for an entire 150-second video of just that.
Knicks fans already know, but Rookie Immanuel Quickley might have one of the deadliest running floater games in the entire NBA.— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 17, 2021
To prove it, I went through all 18 box scores to create this 2:30 supercut of every floater he's made this season.
At 21, Quickley has a bright future ahead of him, hopefully, one that brings back the glory of Madison Square Garden.