It’s been a fun six months being a New York Knicks fan and sadly, we are in the last week of the regular season. Thankfully, the Knicks season doesn't end on April 9th as we have playoff basketball to look forward to.
I wanted to take a look at some of the plus/minus stats on the team and talk a bit about each player. This isn't an end-of-season report card piece, rather it’s a brief reflection on what we’ve been watching.
The top of New York’s plus category does not feature All-Star Julius Randle or Jalen Brunson.
Immanuel Quickley is the Knick’s plus/minus leader this season at a whopping +283. He is +80 higher than any other Knick. The sixth-man-of-the-year frontrunner is averaging 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and one steal in 28.7 minutes per game.
He is a part of the Knicks’ highest net-rated lineup that has played at least 100 minutes together this season. That five consists of Quickley, Brunson, Quentin Grimes, Randle and Isaiah Hartenstein. They have played 115 minutes together in 30 games and carry a 125.8 offensive rating. This group shoots well together with a 61.1 true shooting percentage.
Quickley is also a member of the five that has the lowest defensive rating. This lineup features Quickley-Brunson-Grimes-Randle-Robinson. This five-man unit has played 165 minutes in 27 games and has a 101.8 defensive rating. That is by the far the best defensive rating of any five combinations of players to play at least 100 minutes together this season.
Needless to say, Immanuel Quickley has been incredibly impactful this season, and the numbers back it up. He’s played in 78 games and has gotten the opportunity to start in 18 of them. In games he’s started, his numbers raise to 21.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. The Knicks have an 11-7 record with IQ in the starting five and he has the 23rd-highest plus/minus total in the NBA this season.
I’ll single myself out here for wanting Mr. Hartenstein gone around the trade deadline. The Knicks center was not having a good season and didn't look comfortable on the court with his new team. Names were being thrown around everywhere and I floated the idea of a potential return the Knicks could get in an Isaiah Hartenstein trade. New York would of course hold onto Hartenstein and he played a lot better after the trade deadline. He’d record at least ten rebounds in seven of 11 February games, helping the Knicks to a 9-2 record. I once again documented this in a little expectations piece heading into the All-Star break. The seven-footer just looked more comfortable and there was a team-wide sense of relief after the All-Star break. Bringing in Josh Hart has only helped their chemistry as he’s an all-time hustle and vibes guy.
Hartenstein is second on the Knicks this season in plus/minus. Sitting at +203, he and Immanuel Quickley are the only Knicks in the 200s club. In 19.9 minutes per game, he has averaged 4.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, and around a block per game. His stats will never stand out, he’s not a guy that will dominate a game, but his impact and value have been huge this season.
As pointed out before in the Immanuel Quickley portion, Hartenstein is one of the five on the Knicks' highest offensive-rated lineup. It is not their primary lineup but he’s provided New York with really steady play over the last few months. A player doesn't just walk into a high plus/minus without playing their part and that's exactly what Hartenstein has done. He knows his role, excels in it, and on the right night deserves to close games. It’ll be very interesting to see how minutes are managed to end the season and in the playoffs.
These two Knicks have been essential to their success this season. Randle and Brunson come in at fourth and sixth on the Knicks plus/minus list. Josh Hart is third with +180 and 17th in the NBA with +304 total. The most disappointing name was RJ Barrett at -54. Quickley and Hartenstein will need to continue bringing their value to every game, just stay the course.
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