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Knicks 2022-23 Player Review: Immanuel Quickley

It’ll come down to paying or trading him.

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks Photo by Evan Yu/Getty Images

In one word: Extraordinary.

Immanuel Quickley’s 2022-23 season was, in fact, one (almost) for the ages. So much so, that he got robbed of a Sixth Man of the Year award falling just shorpt of Malcolm Brogdon and the Boston Media Mafia agenda. As Joe Flynn put it, “The writing [had] been on the wall for a few weeks now,” and he couldn’t have been more right about it.

Truth be told, I care little about who ended up getting the piece of hardwood home. I know better, folks. And you should, too.

Quickley entered this season having played a grand total of 3,045 minutes in his first two years as a pro doing it in New York. He logged 2,344 in 2023 alone while appearing in 81 games and starting 21 of them.

IQ was seemingly hitting new levels of play each passing day, let alone week, let alone (x2) month. Allow me to show you some fancy splits, starting with the most basic one.

Quickley, over the full 2022-23 campaign, went from averaging an 11-3-3 as a sophomore in 23 MPG to a smooth 15-4-3-1 in 29 MPG. Of course, the bulkier minute tally helped IQ, but that doesn’t paint the full picture.

Check the per-36 averages and things are a bit closer (from 17-5-5-1 to a nearly-equal 18-5-4-1) on the counting/classic stats front, but then look under the hood and things start to look better in a seemingly endless run of improving results.

Just on a per-game/monthly-split basis, IQ went from averaging fewer than 10 points to start the year to bagging 15+ and then 20+ in the last couple of months of the season.

With more minutes came a bigger role and larger responsibilities. Not that those affected Quickley.

The shooting went up and up from the floor, and beyond the three-point arc. The freebies were all over the place, test, but check that True Shooting percentage and then pick up your jaw from the floor.

Do you feel fancy? Do you want to check some efficiency, advanced-stat numbers? Got them for ya. Ratings work on a per-100-possession basis. See what happened?

The young combo-guard went from a near-impactless 102 ORtg to the 110s to settling on 125+ for four months in a row peaking at a freaking 136 ORtg in January.

Now, for what matters most heading into Quickley’s last season under contract with the New York Knicks, what will the franchise do with the young man?

A couple of weeks ago, the first reports hitting these shores about IQ’s future talked about the Knicks “trying to lowball Quickley in an extension,” per an Eastern Conference GM (h/t Sean Deveney), quoting the figure at around “$50 million spread over four seasons.”

That, of course, is reasonable and something every front office always tries to do. The more you can save, the better shape you’ll be down the road and the more room you’ll have to complete further maneuvers.

According to Michael Scotto of Hoopshype, in “talking with people around the league,” what he discovered was a much more expensive scenario in which Quickley could be looking for a “four years, $80 million floor.”

Coming off his best season as a pro—and realistically it wasn’t even close to anything he had done before—it is very obvious that Quickley will reject the qualifying offer New York can extend him after the 2023-24 season, at a measly value of $6.1 million for a year when he will become a restricted free agent.

The Knicks extended RJ Barrett a four-year, $107 million deal that he signed without blinking right on the spot. Will they do the same, or something very similar with IQ?

Judging by the fancier of fancy stats—you can read more about the DARKO projection system and the DPM metric if you wish—they probably should do!

As uncanny as the chart above looks in how the lines reflect each other in a near-perfect way, Barrett and Quickley have always trended in opposite directions since the day they first hit the Association.

Will an extension getting inked in the next few days or weeks mean that New York is betting on their homegrown talent and stiff-arming all potential big-name trade candidates?

Will it only be a precautionary measure ahead of, potentially, another great campaign by IQ forcing the Knicks to pony up even more dough than Quickley’s already expected demand from the FO?

Will an extended Quickley make for an easier-to-complete trade once he gets a higher and closer-to-his-talent salary? Will all other franchises see him with the same eyes as the Knicks, whatever value New York assigns him?

There is an obvious comparable to Quickley when it comes to his improvement last season and what might come next October and the man is already hooping in New York: Jalen Brunson.

Will that jump happen, or rather, solidify? Bench-Quickley was good. Starter-Quickley was great. Playoff-Quickley was atrocious. So, what gives?

In truth, the postseason went by and Quickley barely realized. Or looking at it from another angle, we didn’t even know he was actually roaming hardwood floors triangulating the New York, Miami, and Cleveland areas.

The 15-4-3 line turned into an ugly 9-1-1. The minutes went down from 29 to 21 per game, yes, but the impact was barely noticeable through the eight postseason games IQ was part of.

How will such an anti-climatic brochure to an otherwise phenomenal season affect Quickley’s value in the eyes of external front offices? Hell, how will it affect it in the eyes of our own Knickerbocker faithful, whatever that’s worth?

The Knicks still have time to decide, and Quickley has more than proved his worth for this franchise and across the whole league.

Next season, according to Spotrac, there will be 19 guards making money in the $18-to-24 million clip. Let’s assume Quickley asks for that money, which isn’t unreasonable. These are the names of those close to his age (IQ will play at age-24 next season):

  • RJ Barrett, Lonzo Ball ($20+ million)
  • Gary Trent Jr., Collin Sexton, Markelle Fultz ($17+)

That’s it, that’s the (age-partial) list. How many of those players deserve more money than Quickley given their production? All terms equal, how many of those would you flip for IQ?

I don’t know about you, but I would trust the developmental curve, hand Quickley the bag, and keep him around unless a mammoth behemothian superstar player becomes available (doubtful) and demands for IQ to be baked into whatever offer New York presents said, mystery team.

Until then, we wait.