The Knicks practiced yet again on Wednesday as they prepare for Friday’s preseason opener. Head coach Tom Thibodeau heaped praise upon a couple of young guards during the media session.
We begin with Dennis Smith Jr., who has been getting his share of laurels during camp.
Coach on DSJ: “He’s been aggressive. Each day, he’s gotten better and better.” pic.twitter.com/MCqSsgWNs8— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 9, 2020
I’m conflicted on Dennis. The kid had a tough year, lost some family members, and did some impressive voter registration work during the election. He’s a good kid! But I’ve seen this “Dennis is having a great camp” stuff in previous years. He has been given more playing time than he has earned ever since coming to the Knicks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. But this is a new Knicks regime we’re talking about, so hopefully Dennis is actually improving his game. Or maybe they’re pumping him up for a trade. Neither would surprise me.
More interesting to me are the Thibs compliments directed toward rookie guard Immanuel Quickley.
Tom Thibodeau on Immanuel Quickley learning curve: I think the one thing is he’s got a great skill already. He can shoot the ball as well as anyone in the league. He’s a great shooter. Now it’s learning all the other parts of the league and his team.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) December 9, 2020
Wow. High praise, indeed. Quickley is a fascinating combination of strengths and weaknesses — he can shoot the rock, get to the free-throw line and defend his position with gusto, but he lacks size and athleticism and isn’t a true point guard. I figured he wouldn’t get much playing time this season since the front office brought in so many veteran guards, but if Thibs buys the shooting (and defense) then maybe Quickley has a shot after all.
I think all of us here would enjoy seeing Quickley ply his trade with the big club in 2020-21.