The New York Knicks‘ latest win streak came to an end on Monday night as the team fell short against a sub-.500 Minnesota Timberwolves team, squandering a 57-point performance from Julius Randle in the process. Clearly, though, the team continues to be on the right path.
Since February 5, the Knicks have logged a 14-5 record with statement wins over the Boston Celtics (twice), the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers. And over that stretch, they’ve boasted the NBA‘s third-best offense, scoring 120.2 points per 100 possessions.
While several players have had a hand in the recent success — Randle, Jalen Brunson and new Knick Josh Hart are stealing headlines — Immanuel Quickley’s contributions simply cannot be overstated. Across those 19 games, Quickley has averaged 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 37.5% from deep.
The 23-year-old has been so good, in fact, that pundits — including ESPN’s Zach Lowe — have him pegged as the current frontrunner for the league’s Sixth Man of the Year trophy.
Zach Lowe: Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley Is the Sixth Man of the Year ‘Favorite’
On the March 20 episode of his podcast, Lowe broke down the current 6MOY race. And while he and Chris Herring agreed that Quickley and Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon have pulled away from the field, they both feel that the Knicks guard is actually leading the pack.
“Knicks fans, I want to be clear on this. There are 10 games left — this is my initial snapshot, not my deep dive, not my decision, not my ballot, not anything like that,” Lowe disclaimed before declaring: “I think Immanuel Quickley might be the favorite now to win this award.”
From a sheer numbers standpoint, Brogdon may actually have a stronger case for the honor. For the year, he’s logging right around a 15-4-4 line and shooting 45.7% from deep, while Quickley is at 14-4-3 and just under 36%.
As Lowe sees it, though, Quickley’s importance to his team puts him on another level.
“Quickley is just a menace to society and he just feels, to me — and this is almost unfair to Brogdon because it’s demeriting him for playing on a better team with two superstars or one superstar and one borderline All-NBA player at least in Jaylen Brown — Quickley just feels more essential to the Knicks’ identity and feel and style than Brogdon does in Boston,” Lowe said.
“Brogdon feels like this ingredient you plop in, he plays a little differently than the rest of the Celtics, like, ‘Go do your thing, get us some buckets…’ Quickley feels essential to the fabric of the Knicks in a way that Brogdon doesn’t the Celtics.”
Quickley Made a Strong Push for the Award Late Last Season
Quickley coming on strong during the second half of a season and putting himself at least in the discussion for some year-end hardware is nothing new. He did the exact same thing down the stretch of 2021-22, but it didn’t get quite the same press; perhaps because the Knicks were outside of the playoff picture.
Over the Knicks’ final 22 games last season, Quickley dropped 16.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steals nightly while hitting the three-ball at a 39% rate. Meanwhile, New York was 11.2 points/100 poss. better in terms of net rating when he was on the court.
As a result, he managed to snag a pair of third-place votes in the 6MOY voting.
Flash forward to now and it’s probably safe to assume that his name will be more deeply embedded into voters’ minds.