Secrets behind Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley’s Year 3 improvement
Immanuel Quickley is averaging 32.5 points and eight assists in his past two games, finishing the season strong by finishing strong around the rim.
The Knicks guard made the jump from Kentucky to the NBA as the No. 25-overall pick in the 2020 draft with a reputation as a marksman from 3-point range.
He has continued to fill out his game — and body — and has evolved into a guard who can get his points from anywhere.
Quickley, coming off a 40-point masterpiece Monday in the Knicks’ win over the Rockets, is enjoying his best NBA season.
He has had upticks all over the floor, but perhaps none more drastic than his 2-point percentage jump.
Last year, he shot 44.8 percent from inside the arc, which he has bumped all the way up to 52.9 percent this season.
In explaining the gains, Quickley shouted out two helpers: associate head coach Johnnie Bryant and personal trainer Reese Whitley.
Quickley said film work and consultations with Bryant have helped him find soft spots in opposing defenses.
“Before every game, I watch a lot of film of the team I’m about to play, spots on the floor that I can pretty much be effective,” Quickley said after setting a new career-best in points. “Johnnie Bryant has helped me a lot, just being able to work with him every single day and being able to pick his brain.”
Quickley shot 57.4 percent within 5 feet from the hoop last season.
This season, he’s shooting 61.6 percent. In 2021-22, he was a 41.3 percent shooter from 5-9 feet away.
This season, he has become a 51.7 percent shooter. He shot 41.9 percent from 10-14 feet last season, which he has boosted to 51.5 percent this year.
His array of floaters and a stronger body have allowed him to continue finishing his drives. Quickley said he lifted with Whitley four or five times a week in Miami this offseason.
“It was pretty rigorous,” Quickley said Monday, ahead of a Garden matchup Wednesday with the Heat. “Just glad to see that I can continue to keep improving my body and things like that. It all comes back to — everybody says the offense, but the defense as well is what’s being able to keep me on the floor and being able to help the team have success. So, try to continue to do that.”
Josh Hart, in his sixth NBA season and on a winning team for the first time, is enjoying playing meaningful games.
“They’re fun, man,” said Hart — who never made the postseason with the Lakers, Pelicans or Trail Blazers. “Because if we was on a team that was tanking, I wouldn’t be playing. So I think it’s fun to play towards the end of the season.”
Derrick Rose (illness) was inactive Monday and is questionable for the game Wednesday.