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Immanuel Quickley shines in Knicks preseason win over Celtics

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Immanuel Quickley set an ambitious agenda for himself this past offseason. According to Stefan Bondy (NY Post), the Knicks’ fourth-year guard worked with a trainer this offseason to bulk up and get stronger. Quickley packed on ten pounds of muscle and focused on plyometrics to improve his pop and leap.

IQ had already proven his worth to the New York Knicks during the 2022-23 campaign. Last season, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 81 games and shot 37% from beyond the arc. This past March, he had games of 38 and 40 points, and scored 39 in an April contest. The young player who idolized Lou Williams finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting. The only crack in the picture was that he faded in the postseason.

In last night’s victory over the Boston Celtics, the 24-year-old showed again that the hype and the offseason effort are legitimate. Sure, it was game one of the preseason, but Quickley was in mid-season form. Jalen Brunson played only six minutes, so IQ took the keys for 23 minutes and led the team with 21 points, and three assists on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, 2-of-5 from deep.

Here he demonstrates his court awareness with a nice assist to Donte DiVincenzo:

And here he gets a bucket for himself. With the added power, Quickley, always a fearless hooper, looked stronger and even more confident driving the lane. What’s more, the extra bulk did nothing to diminish that fine finesse we love:

And his defense proved as robust as ever, with three steals to show for it.

(Read: Sam Stein’s recap of the game.)

Randle offered praise after the game, saying, “Quick just continues to grow as a player. Just his understanding of the game, picking and choosing his spots, running the team. [...] He brings a lot of effort and energy and versatility on the defensive end. Causes a lot of havoc. Every year, you just see his continued growth.”

With his skills, shooting ability, and athleticism, Quickley could play lead guard on many NBA teams. He just happens to be on a roster with Jalen Brunson. Last week, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic said on his podcast, “Immanuel Quickley is probably the best back-up point guard in the NBA.” Agreed, Sam.

Quickley is in the last year of his rookie-scale deal. A contract extension can be signed before October 24. If a deal is not achieved, he will become a restricted free agent. Thus, the Knicks would have to match any offer he received on the market or lose him for nothing. Pundits seem to think that a Quickley deal will land between $80 - $100M for four years. If Leon Rose doesn’t lock him up, and Quickley throws down a career year, the bidding war for his talents will be outrageous.

Next up: The Minnesota Timberwolves visit MSG for game two of the preseason this Saturday. I’m looking forward to IQ squaring up against Anthony Edwards. Ant is a walking muscle with a head and would be a real test of the strength IQ acquired this summer.

Can’t wait. Go Knicks!