The Eastern Conference is wide open this season. Well, the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is wide open in that any number of teams could land the 5-8 playoff slots. James Harden would disagree with me saying the East is wide open. My point is, the New York Knicks can finally the postseason if they just make one key move: start Immanuel Quickley.
The current starting point guard for the Knicks is Elfrid Payton.
He has no idea how to dribble, pass or shoot a basketball which, as you can imagine, is a problem for a professional basketball player. Especially a point guard.
There is some odd narrative that Payton is a ‘playmaker’ and I would love to see some of that playmaking I keep reading so much about. He’s averaging 4.2 assists this season which is 2nd on the behind a power forward, Julius Randle, who is very much not a playmaker.
Elfrid Payton ruins the spacing in a starting lineup that gets completely handcuffed by opposing teams’ zone defense. Unless Reggie Bullock gets hot, literally no one in the starting lineup can make 3’s at a respectable enough clip to make defenders consider them perimeter threats.
Meanwhile, there is a rookie on the bench, Immanuel Quickley, who is an exponentially better shooter than Payton. At Kentucky last season, Quickley shot close to 40% from 3. In his last two games, Quickley has nailed 6 3’s. Elfrid has 1. Neato.
That shooting extends to the free throw line where IQ has made 1 more free throw than Elfrid in 8 fewer attempts. Quickley is so good at drawing fouls that if given Elfrid’s starting minutes and usage, he would eclipse Payton in free throw attempts and make far more of his attempts.
Plus, you cannot understate how valuable it is to draw fouls and put your opponents in the penalty early. It gives you more opportunities to take free throws oh, and again, IQ can make more than Elfrid. Hm.
If you’re concerned about losing scoring off the bench, remember that Austin Rivers, Kevin Knox, Obi Toppin and when healthy, Alec Burks, are all coming off the bench so there is plenty of shooting on the second unit. Elfrid Payton can move down there and be that ‘playmaker’ I hear about it.
At the same time, Immanuel Quickly can bust zones and give RJ Barrett the space in the lane he needs to maneuver because the kid is not a spot-up shooter and is being forced into a role he is simply incapable of.
Really don’t need another weird David Fizdale Frank Ntilikina beef where Frank invites his whole family from France to come see him play at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day and Fizdale gives him a Coach’s DNP for no reason other than to prove some point.
Start Immanuel Quickley. Duh. Also drop Elfrid Payton into a volcano.
Knicks fans already know, but Rookie Immanuel Quickley might have one of the deadliest running floater games in the entire NBA.
To prove it, I went through all 18 box scores to create this 2:30 supercut of every floater he’s made this season.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 17, 2021
Here’s footage of his unstoppable floater. Elfrid could never.