Ex-Knicks 6th Man Immanuel Quickley Throws Subtle Shade at Tom Thibodeau

Immanuel Quickley, Knicks

Getty Immanuel Quickley #5 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a three-point shot.

There is a different verve to former New York Knicks‘ Sixth Man Immanuel Quickley‘s play. There is a joyful vibe that is always on display every time he skips nearly the full 94-foot court of the world’s most famous arena after a 3-pointer.

The Knicks’ loss is now the Toronto Raptors’ gain.

Quickley is averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 54% from deep as the starting point guard for the 2-0 Raptors since the trade. Toronto has been 8.0 points better with Quickley on the court.

“Darko [Rajakovic] pulled me aside while the game was going on and said: ‘You’re not having fun. Have fun,'” Quickley told Canadian reporters on January 3 after he led the Raptors over Ja Morant and Memphis Grizzlies their second straight since the trade. “I’ve never really had a coach do that.”

It was a subtle shot at Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, who held him back in New York. But Thibodeau had his reasons.

The Knicks already have the 6-foot-2 Jalen Brunson, who is going to be an All-Star. Quickley would have never started in New York no matter how he has dramatically improved defensively.

Small backcourts in the NBA are a disaster waiting to happen in the playoffs. Just ask the Utah Jazz. The Cleveland Cavaliers learned it the hard way against the Knicks last season.

It was clear Quickley would not be part of the Knicks’ long-term future when they could not agree to an extension deal this past offseason.

Quickley wants to start (and the money that comes with it). The Knicks do not view him as such.

So the Knicks used him as a pawn to get their bishop.

The 6-foot-7, 232-lb OG Anunoby does not possess Quickley’s flashiness. But he is the perfect Thibs guy — always serious and even-keeled. His positional size raises the Knicks’ ceiling. Stifling Anthony Edwards and DeMar DeRozan in back-to-back games is a good start.

Like the Raptors, the Knicks are 2-0 too since acquiring Anunoby.

Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson agreed “he’s a perfect fit.”

And so is Quickley next to the Raptors’ franchise cornerstone Scottie Barnes.

“He fits great,” Rajakovic said. “It’s a guy that can do so much with the ball. His shooting is really something that makes a difference for us.”

Immanuel Quickley Wasn’t Part of Knicks’ Initial Offer

Last year, the Knicks wanted to keep Quickley off their Anunoby pursuit.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Knicks offered a pick-heavy package.

“The Knicks have gone after OG Anunoby for the last year or so,” Charania said on FanDuel TV’s “Run It Back. “Last year around the trade deadline, they offered the Raptors a package around guys like Evan Fournier and [multiple] first-round picks. This year they get him by only giving up one second-round pick but you give up two better players in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.”

But things have changed when Quickley asked for the moon in the offseason.

Isaiah Hartenstein’s Improving Play Puts Knicks in Tricky Situation

Isaiah Hartenstein has stepped up in Mitchell Robinson’s absence.

The German-American center just grabbed a career-best 20 rebounds to go along with 10 points and a career-high-tying five blocks against Andre Drummond two nights after he stuffed Rudy Gobert with 7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks.

Hartenstein is averaging 10.0 rebounds, 7.8 points on 62.3% shooting, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks in 32.4 minutes in 13 games since Robinson, his best buddy in the team, went down with a season-ending ankle injury.

That’s good and at the same time, bad news, to the Knicks’ numbers crunchers.

Hartenstein’s recent play as the fill-in starter has made his $16 million, two-year deal that is coming to an end one of the best value contracts in the NBA.

Keeping him after this season will require mathematical gymnastics and blocking teams who will attempt to offer Hartenstein a starting role.


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