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Immanuel Quickley’s new weapon

This season, he’s been on a completely different level.

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Following a breakout third season in which he averaged 14.9 PPG and 3.4 APG and finished as a Sixth Man of the Year finalist, all eyes were on Immanuel Quickley coming into the season. Fans and analysts alike wanted to see if he could have a repeat performance, or better yet, improve upon what was by far his best season. And so far, Quickley has done just that. He is currently averaging 15.1 PPG, and 3.5 APG, both of which are career-highs, but he’s doing it in just 24.1 MPG, which is significantly less than the 28.9 MPG he played last season. To put that into perspective, last season, Quickley averaged 18.6 points and 4.3 assists per 36 minutes, which are both very solid marks. This season though, he’s been on a completely different level, averaging 22.6 points and 5.2 assists per 36 minutes. So where has this uptick in efficiency come from?

Contrary to the Steph Curry-lead beyond the arc trend in today’s league, it’s actually been inside the arc where Quickley has seen the biggest leap in his fourth season. The Knicks’ backup guard had just 30.4%, 33.3%, and 41.5% of his points from two-pointers during his first three seasons in the league, but this season, he’s nearing 50% and currently sits at 49.6%. And more specifically, it’s the midrange that has catapulted Quickley into the next level. This season, a whopping 14.9% of his points have come from the midrange, which is a monumental jump from his first three seasons in which he never even cracked 7%.

Detractors may point at the fact that it’s only an eight game sample size, but it’s not like Quickley is lucking into these shots, or being forced to take these at the end of the shot clock. If you’ve watched the Knicks this season, you’ll notice that Quickley, who has become very adept at getting to where he wants, has made it a focus to get to his newly polished midrange pullup and fadeaway.

And the scary thing for the rest of the league is that he should continue to improve on it. While the percentages may drop at some point, Quickley should only get better at taking and making these shots with more in game reps. And being the smart player and the gym rat he is, he’ll also likely learn how to use his new weapon to then set up his already strong shooting and floater game even more. Defenses used to just be able to play Quickley for the long ball and the floater in his first two seasons, but now, they’ll have to account for his midrange shot as well, meaning they can’t cheat or force him into a weakness really. Go under a screen, and he’ll nail a three, go over or over hedge, and he’ll split the scree and pullup for a midrange shot, and try to focus on stopping that, and he’ll likely throw in a hesitation dribble and get into the paint where he can go to his floater or kick it out. While Quickley’s future with the team remains in flux, he is becoming a three-level scorer right in front of our eyes, and it’s been a treat to watch but also scary knowing his price is likely going up by the game.