The New York Knicks have a lot of returning players from last season’s playoffs squad, and they will be counting on them to make big leaps in hopes of going even deeper into the postseason.
With so many young players on the roster, development is important and while Julius Randle will again be the focal point led by veterans such as Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier, the Knicks will need some of these youngsters to step up.
One such player is Immanuel Quickley, someone who is coming off a solid rookie season but is expected to make an even bigger leap in year two.
While there is such a thing as a sophomore slump, the team will be hoping Quickley makes a leap similar to what RJ Barrett did in his second season.
To his credit, Quickley did work on a lot of things in the offseason, and he told reporters just what they were.
How Quickley Will Take the Next Step
Coming off All-Rookie Second Team honors, Quickley already has the eye of some big names in the NBA, and he’ll get even more attention if he makes another big leap forward.
He’ll likely spend the season coming off the bench and providing a burst of instant offense for the second unit, but scoring isn’t the only thing he’ll be capable of.
“I dedicated a lot to my summer in terms of working on my body,” Quickley told reporters according to SNY. “Getting stronger defensively. I feel like I’ll take a step this year and that’s going to be big on this team is guarding, just to be able to stay on the floor, stay in front of key guys and things like that.”
Defense wins championships, at least that’s how the old saying goes, and everyone knows Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau values defense. If Quickley makes a jump on the defensive end while also improving his offense, then he’s poised for an even bigger leap than some would expect.
“And then my passing ability, I feel like got better. And then just working on my strengths – shooting, I still have my floater, and being able to shoot left side to right is something I added to my game as well. So just my overall game.”
2 Knicks Making the Leap?
Quickley also told reporters he spent a lot of his offseason working out with fellow sophomore Obi Toppin.
Like Quickley, Toppin will be looking to make a lot of improvements in his second season, but he might struggle to find consistent minutes where Quickley is pretty much guaranteed playing time.
“I’ve been with Obi pretty much all summer,” he said. “We did a lot of two-a-days in the summer, working out in the morning and coming back and getting shots and lifting and stuff like that. So we put a lot of work into this offseason. We understand it’s a big season coming up so we want to be prepared and have our bodies prepared.”
Coming off a playoff appearance, the Knicks are hoping there’s nowhere to go but up, and the growth of players like Quickley and Toppin will have a lot to do with that.