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It is Time for Immanuel Quickley to Start

It is abundantly clear that Immanuel Quickley needs to be in the Knicks starting lineup. He has clearly shown that he is the best point guard on the team and may even be the long term answer at the position. The Knicks have been looking for their franchise point guard for what seems like forever. They thought Frank Ntilikina could be the answer, but he barely sees the court now. The same goes for Dennis Smith Jr. Elfrid Payton, to put it bluntly, sucks. He is a fine NBA point guard, but he should not be the guy to run this Knicks team.

Immanuel Quickley has played well enough to earn a starting job

Over the course of the entire season, Quickley has played way above expectations. To the Knicks fans that watch on TV, it is obvious that he has earned a role in the starting 5. However, Tom Thibodeau has yet to cave to the pressure and keeps rolling with Payton.

Shooting

One key area that Quickley is better than Payton is his ability to shoot the three ball. Right now, Quickley is shooting 32% from three. In his sophomore season at Kentucky, Quickley shot just under 43% from deep. The kid can light it up from beyond the arc. Payton is also shooting 32% from three but in almost twice the amount of playing time and a full less attempt per game. Quickley can change the dynamic of the entire game with his shooting.

RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson are the leaders of the offense. In order for those players to have their skills maximized, they need to be paired with good three point shooting. Payton simply does not match the style that the Knicks core needs to play. But do you know who does? Immanuel Quickley. His ability to shoot the 3 allows Randle, Barrett, and Robinson to play to their strengths.

Willingness to Run

For whatever reason, Elfrid Payton does not like to run the fast break. Quickley on the other hand loves to get the ball and run. The Knicks are a young team who can get the most out of their players in transition. With guys like RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Kevin Knox, the Knicks can get some of their best offense out in transition. The Knicks have been one of the worst teams in the half court over the past couple seasons. And that weakness is only made worse because Payton does not push the ball on the fast break.

Defense

Over the course of his career, Elfrid Payton has been heralded as a good defender. However, the statistics this season prove otherwise. According to NBA.com’s advanced statistics, the Knicks are seven points better defensively when Payton is not on the floor. Quickley is still a negative when it comes to defensive rating, but he comes in almost twice as good as Payton.

Final Thoughts

For the direction that the Knicks want to go, it is clear the Payton needs to be removed from the starting line up. Even if Thibodeau believes Quickley is not ready to start, then Austin Rivers should replace Payton. Rivers offers more offensive versatility (i.e. he can shoot the 3) and meshes will with Randle and Barrett. Payton’s time with the Knicks needs to come to an end. He is a net negative player who hinders the development of some of the Knick’s most important players. It is time to take him out of the starting line up, and Immanuel Quickley should be the answer.

-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)

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