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Immanuel Quickley, Knicks

The case for and against promoting Immanuel Quickley to permanent starting role with Knicks

The New York Knicks have been one of the most surprising teams in 2021, wildly exceeding expectations. Immanuel Quickley has been part of this story.

Even though the Knicks are 6-8 and are currently in ninth place in the eastern conference, they are only 0.5 games out of sixth place.

The fact that the Knicks are in the running for a playoff spot without their rookie phenom, Obi Toppin, is even more impressive.

Star power forward Julius Randle has been playing at a superstar level, while the supporting cast of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and company have been solid for Tom Thibodeau.

The surprise contribution from rookie Immanuel Quickley, however, has been a major factor in the Knicks success.

Quickley has erupted onto the scene as a knock-down shooter, with the potential to really break out as a dominant back court player for New York.

Quickley has been so good that the question has been brought up: Should the Knicks start Immanuel Quickley?

Let’s go over some pros and cons of inserting Quickley into the starting lineup for the Knicks.

Pros for the Knicks

Quickley in the lineup would elevate this Knicks lineup into one of the youngest and most promising starting lineups in the NBA.

Quickley compliments Barrett and Payton very well. Both Barrett and Payton are playmaking guards, while Quickley is a score-first guard. Quickley would likely be the beneficiary of some unselfish play and would make a real impact with more opportunity with the Knicks.

Giving a youngster like Quickley in the lineup also could be a massive boost to his confidence. Playing time seems to be a common barrier faced by rookies in the NBA, but if Quickley is able to overcome that as a rookie, the sky is the limit for the Kentucky guard.

If you’re looking at this from a long-term lens, starting Quickley as a rookie may be the best thing for his development with the Knicks.

Cons for the Knicks

Quickley is a natural point guard, but can play the combo-guard position for the Knicks. That means either Elfrid Payton or Reggie Bullock would be pulled.

Considering Elfrid Payton’s effectiveness as a playmaker, it’s likely that Bullock would get the boot.

What would that entail for the Knicks? It’s hard to say.

Bullock and Quickley have virtually identical shooting percentages and average a similar amount of points per game for the Knicks.

Bullock, if anything, shoots a slightly better percentage so Quickley rolling with the starters may result in a few more misses per game with the Knicks.

Other categories between Quickley and Bullock are similar, other than rebounding. Bullock averages three more rebounds per game than Quickley and gives the Knicks some rebounding help from the backcourt.

With Quickley in the lineup, the Knicks may surrender some offensive rebounds and second chance points.


The Knicks are exceeding expectations this season, but are still unlikely to make the playoffs.

Looking at this situation with a long-term lens, starting Quickley seems to be the better option for this team. A few rebounds and missed shots may be the sacrifice, but it could reap rewards in the long run.

New York can potentially revamp the roster with one single draft class. Giving Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin the chance to shine may be the only piece left in the puzzle.