But the Knicks may have landed the point guard jackpot with their other first round – Kentucky combo guard Immanuel Quickley, who continues to make fake drafts look ridiculous.
In his second game, after not coming off the bench in the pre-season opener, 25th-selected Quickley showed he may be capable of playing the NBA playmaker role. .
Quickley’s electricity and zest for life prompted the Knicks to return to the fourth quarter in Wednesday’s 100-93 win over the Cavaliers in the Fanless Garden.
His ability to squeeze into the Cavaliers’ zone defense, set up partners and reach the free throw line triggered a dead team that lost the game from the 3 point line. Quickly scored nine points with nine assists in 24 minutes.
“I thought Quick was great – the pressure of the ball, the fact that he can shoot any way he can, it opens up the floor,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Its 3 in 11 fire register did not tell the story of its effectiveness. Normally a strong 3-point shooter, he was 1 in 6 beyond the arc, but teams have to respect him, unlike, say, starting point keeper Elfrid Payton.
The bigger story was how Quickley fearlessly leads the offense that has sunk majestically in that 34-13 fourth quarter.
“I have been a leader my whole life. I feel like I’m versatile playing on the ball, on the ball, ”said Quickley. “I feel like when I came in, I was trying to tell all the NBA teams that I’m someone who just played the ball in Kentucky that year, my sophomore year. I can really do both. And I’m glad the Knicks picked me. I’m glad to be here. The fans are great. So I feel like I can really do both. ”
In most mock drafts, Quickley was positioned as a mid-to-late second round pick despite being named the SEC Player of the Year. The Knicks have this Kentucky pipeline with their two executives, Leon Rose and William Wesley, former agents of John Calipari.
Moreover, new assistant Kenny Payne was Calipari’s right-hand man and lobbied for Quickley’s selection. Perhaps this additional information will pay off.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still ill and has not made his debut, which could jeopardize his chances of making the squad. … Omari Spellman made his debut when Mitchell Robinson had early foul issues. He made two exterior shots. … Frank Ntilikina (Achille), Nerlens Noel (knee pain) and Alec Burks missed Wednesday’s game. Reggie Bullock started for Burks at the little forward and struggled with his 3-point shot (1 of 6). … Austin Rivers (groin pulled out) will miss all four preseason games.
Toppin has been listed in most draft drafts to head to Cleveland at No.5, but the Cavaliers have taken Isaac Okoro, a defensive wing who has scored in double digits in each of their three games.
“It went on until draft night,” Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff said. “It was a back and forth. It was a debate. We decided what need he was filling on the defensive end of the pitch.