After a surprisingly successful 2020-2021 season, the New York Knicks are being recognized by the NBA, as the league releases all of the regular-season honors amid the final rounds of the playoffs.
Both head coach Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle took home an annual regular-season award in the Coach of the Year and the Most Improved Player award.
And while guard Derrick Rose didn’t win it, he too was named as a finalist for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
Randle was also recently named to the All-NBA Second Team, making him the first Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony in 2013 to receive the honors.
New York brought home plenty of hardware this year, that much is certain.
And rookie Immanuel Quickley got in on the fun as well, as he was named to the All-Rookie Second Team last week for his stellar first season:
But some around the league think he wasn’t recognized enough for playing a contributing role on this fourth-seed New York Knicks team.
Rivers: ‘I Thought Quickley Was Kinda Snubbed’
Fans welcome Immanuel Quickley’s Second Team All-Rookie honors but questioned his ineligibility for the First Team when rosters were announced on Friday.
They weren’t alone.
On an Instagram live stream, veteran and former New York Knicks guard Austin Rivers made the same claim:
Rivers notably spent the first part of the 2020-2021 season with the team, and his and Quickley’s play off the bench sparked a backcourt nickname of ‘Quivers’ before he was traded at the deadline.
Tate Over Quickley?
The All-Rookie First-Team was made up of four guards and a forward: LaMelo Ball, Jae’Sean Tate, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, and wing Saddiq Bey.
Because as opposed to the All-NBA rosters, All-Rookie isn’t based on position but flat-out performance.
But it’s that position-less nature of the honors that had fans questioning Immanuel Quickley’s absence.
Ball, Edwards, and Haliburton have surefire cases for the First Team. But Ja’Sean Tate, who finished directly above him in the voting, wasn’t viewed as a lock.
And it showed on the voting results, where he finished with just seven more points than Quickley:
Did the 25-year old rookie really have a better season, given the rebuilding nature of the Houston Rockets?
After trading James Harden, they plummeted to the bottom of both Western Conference and overall NBA standings with a 17-55 record.
Tate averaged 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He started in 58 of 70 games played, and averaged 29.2 minutes per game, as opposed to Quickley’s minutes average.
The New York Knicks, of course, finished out the year at 41-31, making their first playoff appearance since 2013.
And Quickley played a large part in that, averaging 11.4 points on a .389 shooting clip from behind the arc.
But his Per 36 numbers suggest he could have had an impact greater than Tate’s: 21.2 points, four rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
Then there’s plus-minus, a statistic that’s discredited when mentioned in regards to small samples, but across a high volume of data like a full season, is typically indicative of a trend.
Per NBA.com, Immanuel Quickley lead all rookies (minimum 36 games played) in plus-minus at (+2.8).
Jae’Sean Tate, on the other hand, clocks in at 24th on that list, at (-2.7).
That’s a (5.5) swing.
Maybe Austin Rivers is onto something.
Regardless, Immanuel Quickley can make his rebuttal next season, as both he and the New York Knicks look to ride the momentum from a season considered a surprise delivery from both of them.