The wildly disappointing result of their season notwithstanding, the New York Knicks actually gave fans plenty to look forward to next season and beyond. Of course, former No. 3 overall pick RJ Barrett is the headliner there, having finished the campaign with averages of 20 points, six boards and three assists.
However, Immanuel Quickley definitely got Knicks Nation hot and bothered over what’s to come as well. And fans weren’t the only ones who took note of the former Kentucky standout’s eye-catching, late-season push.
Per an announcement from the league on Tuesday, Heat guard Tyler Herro will take home a trophy as the NBA‘s Sixth Man of the Year for the 2021-22 season. His victory had been assured for months as the baller set records with his scoring as a full-time bench guy.
Still, a quick glance over the award’s voting results reveals that Quickley got some recognition, too.
Quickley Picks Up 6MOY Votes
While Herro ran away with the award, Quickley notched a pair of third-place votes in the 6MOY balloting, which puts him in the No. 10 spot among vote-getters:
Following a season in which the Knicks fell well short of accomplishing their goals, even this level of recognition is worth noting. That said, had Quickley been able to flip the switch earlier, he would have gotten even more love from voters.
Over New York’s last 22 games, the 22-year-old averaged 16.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steals per outing and upped his shooting efficacy to 43.7% overall and a healthy 39% from deep. Along the way, he had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the floor, boasting a net swing of 11.2.
Moving forward, it’s hard to envision anyone else on the roster acting as the go-to guy for Tom Thibodeau’s second unit, even if Derrick Rose is healthy. Unless, of course, Quickley becomes the team’s next starting floor general.
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Point Guard of the Future?
After the Knicks’ season finale against the Raptors — a game in which he started and dropped a 34-point triple-double — Quickley indicated that he was comfortable with starting as well as coming off the bench. Either way, he’s always ready to work.
“I just control what I can control, man, and that’s working hard, getting better every day,’’ Quickley said, via the New York Post. “If that’s starting, that’s coming off the bench, it is what it is.”
Of course, it’s no secret that the Knicks are exploring bringing in an established star to act as the lead guard on the court. Players like Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson have been oft mentioned as targets for team president Leon Rose. If they can’t reel in a big fish, though, they could certainly do a lot worse than handing the reins over to Quickley, who has filled in as the starting point before and is now showing star potential.
In any case, he has definitely earned a bigger role with his play down the stretch.