BOSTON — When Immanuel Quickley entered the NBA, certainly one of his favourite gamers was Lou Williams.

Quickley might be following in Williams’ footsteps if his present surge continues. 

Quickley is turning into a respectable Sixth Man of the 12 months candidate — the award Williams gained 3 times with the Raptors and the Clippers — as he performs an integral function within the Knicks’ run up the Japanese Convention standings. 

“Any time you get talked about with any nice gamers like Lou Williams, anyone that’s gained Sixth Man of the 12 months, it’s undoubtedly one thing that’s fairly cool,” Quickley mentioned. 

On the very least, the third-year participant is within the dialog with Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon, 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey, Clippers guard Norman Powell and Kings guard Malik Monk, amongst others.

Solely gamers who come off the bench in additional video games than they begin are eligible for the award. 

Immanuel Quickley is having fun with a career-best season.

Lou Williams
Lou Williams gained the Sixth Man of the 12 months award 3 times.
Getty Pictures

Quickley is averaging career-highs in factors (13.0), rebounds (4.0), minutes (27.6) and field-goal proportion (44.7).

His 7.2 web ranking as a reserve (factors differential per 100 possessions with him on the ground) is considerably larger than the aforementioned candidates. He’s additionally certainly one of solely three reserves with at the least 650 factors, 200 rebounds and 150 assists, together with Brogdon and Westbrook. 

The tremendous sub was once more a dynamic two-way power Friday within the dramatic win over the Warmth, scoring 21 factors and going 5-for-9 on 3-point makes an attempt because the Knicks (38-27) ran their profitable streak to eight video games. Whereas the latest commerce for Josh Hart, the star flip of Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle’s bounce-back season have dominated the storylines surrounding the Knicks, Quickley’s ascension can’t be diminished. 

The 6-foot-3 guard has been a revelation since coach Tom Thibodeau reduce his rotation all the way down to 9 on Dec. 4, and expanded Quickley’s function. From that time, he’s averaging 14.8 factors and taking pictures 38.7 % from 3-point vary. The Knicks are outscoring the opposition by 5.2 factors per recreation in that stretch when he’s on the ground. He has scored in double figures in 10 straight video games and 31 of a potential 34 contests. 

“I really feel like I’m in a groove,” Quickley mentioned. “Defensively, I believe is the place it begins for me. And simply feeling the rhythm defensively, I do know I can get in rhythm on offense by that.” 

Immanuel Quickley
Immanuel Quickley is within the working to win Sixth Man of the 12 months.

His protection has been the largest change for Quickley. He has a stellar 107.3 defensive ranking, the very best among the many Knicks at present within the rotation, apart from Hart. He has performed extremely laborious all yr combating by screens and has diligently labored on bettering his protection. Quickley has been so efficient that he has been closing a majority of video games of late. 

“He can guard a number of positions. He’s gotten so much stronger,” Thibodeau mentioned. “However I additionally suppose his understanding of the league, figuring out what groups are attempting to get to, his capacity to suppose forward, [is important]. He’s superb at considering on his toes.” 

After a robust rookie yr, Quickley took a step again final season and didn’t begin out nicely this yr. He struggled along with his shot, taking pictures simply 30 % from deep in November whereas averaging south of double figures. However he has been important to the 180-degree flip the Knicks have made over the past three months, to the purpose at which a contract extension this summer time feels possible. Early this season, the Knicks have been wanting into buying and selling Quickley for draft capital. That modified by the flip of the brand new yr. 

Immanuel Quickley celebrates during the Knicks' win over the Heat on March 3.
Immanuel Quickley celebrates throughout the Knicks’ win over the Warmth on March 3.

A Sixth Man of the 12 months Award would assist his facet in negotiations, not that Quickley would admit to fascinated with the potential honor. 

“For me, truthfully, it actually all comes all the way down to profitable,” he mentioned. “You don’t win, nobody will get awards. So, truthfully, I actually don’t even deal with it an excessive amount of. I deal with it each day, making an attempt to get higher, and if I win Sixth Man of the 12 months, then I win Sixth Man of the 12 months.” 

He’s actually within the dialog. As Thibodeau likes to say when positively evaluating a participant, Quickley has impacted profitable.