Knicks rising third-year guard Immanuel Quickley has the opportunity to seize the reins of the offense, but it’ll take consistent offseason workouts to improve his stamina.
The New York Knicks have been linked to several point guards already as free agency approaches; however, a portion of the fanbase is convinced that, in Immanuel Quickley, the franchise already has its starting point guard.
Quickley closed the season flurry of exceptional games when he was finally given the opportunity to start. After watching Quickley all season, The Knicks Wall contributor and sports performance and movement coach Raymond Brenkert gave his opinion on how IQ could use this offseason to best prepare himself to seize that job.
Rather than having him bulk up to handle more contact at the rim, Brenkert recommends lifting to build stamina and strengthen his joints. Both would aid in injury protection—availability is the most important ability after all—it was the reason head coach Tom Thibodeau was forced to insert him into the starting lineup. One injury down the stretch, and we wouldn’t have seen him in that role.
Bulking up à la Michael Jordan in The Last Dance would likely hurt more than it would help. Quickley has been near the bottom of the league in attempts taken at the rim, per Cleaning the Glass, his late-season heroics did come in conjunction with his willingness to drive—rather than rely on a long floater, but that added muscle could easily affect his shooting. Jacked IQ would likely end up clanging shots off the back rim, at least until he becomes accustomed to this new strength. Additionally, fans also saw how Mitchell Robinson’s new physique seemed to cause him to tire out much quicker, and how his play improved as he shed that muscle weight through the season. Taking a beating to get to the rack won’t be fun, but we saw how it opens up his game towards the end of the season, and if he strengthens his joints and his core he’ll be in a position to drive into the lane and withstand the clobbering opposing big men will look to lay down.
At this point in his career, Derrick Rose is at his best as a sixth man, Alec Burks spent almost all season playing out of position, and Jalen Brunson—the prized free-agent-to-be that the Knicks have been tied to most often—is likely to command an outsized contract this offseason. All these reasons, paired with Quickley’s late-season emergence and it’s easy to see why many fans are begging the Knicks to hand him the reins.
A lot can happen in one offseason, but should Quickley be smart and remain committed to his workouts then he’ll have put himself in the best position to seize lead guard duties for the 2022–23 Knicks.