Tom Thibodeau Impressed by Knicks Guard in Preseason Opener

Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks

Getty Immanuel Quickley #5 of the New York Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks talk late in the fourth quarter.

The NBA is finally back with preseason action to get teams warmed up before the start of the regular season, which starts on Oct. 18.

The New York Knicks started their preseason with a strong display by blowing out the Detroit Pistons with a final score of 117-96.

The preseason opener had many storylines surrounding the team, with main attention on point guard Jalen Brunson, who would play his first game in a Knick uniform. Brunson performed well, scoring 16 points and 5 assists in 20 minutes.

There were other factors focused on when analyzing the first preseason game, such as how would Tom Thibodeau situate rotations, RJ Barrett’s improvement going into his fourth season and how Julius Randle would look in an offense that doesn’t require him to be the focal point with the arrival of Brunson.

What shouldn’t go diminished is the performance of Immanuel Quickley, who has been a key rotational player and a leader of the bench unit for the past two seasons.

Quickley had a solid outing against the Pistons with a stat line of 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 20 minutes. The electric combo guard also played well on the defensive end, gaining three steals.

What stood out the most was Quickley’s aggression to the basket. During the 7:07 mark in the second quarter, the third-year guard made a contact layup with his left-hand that earned him an  and-one. Quickley mentioned to the media that he added more weight to his body to become a better finisher around the basket and worked on different finishing moves to add to his signature floater.

Thibs Gives Bench Guards Credit

The main strength of Thibodeau as a head coach is how he emphasizes the importance of playing well on defense. The Knicks finished 11th in defensive rating last season and third in the 2020-2021 season, according to StatMuse.

Both the starting lineup and bench unit performed well on the defensive end in the first preseason game. Thibodeau should be pleased when going over the film, as the effort was present.

The head coach was complimentary of both Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride, highlighting their defensive efforts.

“I thought the ball pressure from Quick and Deuce got us into the open floor,” Thibodeau said during his postgame comments. “The beauty of those guys is they can play together and speed up the game. They go at it everyday and I thought Quick was terrific.”

Quickley and McBride combined for getting nine out of the 14 total steals against the Pistons. McBride had a game-high of six steals, which is a good impression for the sophomore guard who is fighting for minutes in the rotation.

Rose Played Limited Minutes in First Game Back

Veteran point guard Derrick Rose had six minutes of action against the Pistons and scored 3 points. That was by design from Thibodeau, who wanted to get a good look at McBride and ease Rose back into his regular minutes.

Rose did look healthy in his limited minutes, moving well and hitting a 3-point shot early in the second quarter.

This was the first game back for Rose who hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 16 after injuring his right ankle against the Houston Rockets last season.

The head coach noted that the point guard’s minutes will increase as the season goes on.

The Knicks have three preseason games left. The team goes up against the Indiana Pacers on Oct. 7 and Oct. 12 and closes out the preseason against the Washington Wizards on Oct. 14.

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