Over the past decade, the New York Knicks have been a laughing stock across the NBA. Most of the blame for their recent failures is on terrible draft selections. From Kevin Knox to Frank Ntlikilina, many of the team’s top draft choices recently have not panned out. However, there is optimism regarding 2019 third overall pick RJ Barrett. Though Barrett has been a decent player at times, he has had many games where it seems like he shouldn’t be in the league. As the team has been in search of a franchise point guard, they used their 25th overall pick in 2020 on Kentucky product Immanuel Quickley. Quickley has provided a big spark to a struggling franchise this season. A big question is which player impacts the team in a better way, RJ Barrett or Immanuel Quickley. Through many different aspects, it seems as though Immanuel Quickley will be the more beneficial player for New York in the long run.
Quickley is the better three-point-shooter
One of the most important aspects of being a playoff team is having a player or two who can shoot well from beyond the arc. While Reggie Bullock and Kevin Knox are occasionally solid from three, Quickley’s ability to hit threes is critical. Although he can be inconsistent at times, he is a rookie and is learning. Additionally, he has been substantially better from three than Barrett was a rookie.
RJ Barrett 2019-20
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Immanuel Quickley 2020-21 (so far)
By no means are the sharpshooters’ numbers great, but he has shown many glimpses of becoming an elite shooter from downtown. However, most fans are more confident in Quickley’s three-point shooting than Barrett’s.
Quickley’s impact off the Bench
Tom Thibodeau’s decision to have Immanuel Quickley come off the bench has angered many Knick fans. Elfrid Payton has been the starting point guard thus far for the Knicks. He has been subpar for the most part, despite a few impressive games recently.
When Quickley comes into the game as a part of the second unit, fans are excited as he brings explosiveness and high-energy play to the team. This explosiveness off the bench is something Barrett didn’t have last season. For example, earlier this season against the Blazers, Quickley came in and dominated. He posted 31 points off the bench as well as seven threes. While the Knicks lost the game by two, it would have been a blowout if Quickly played fewer minutes.
As time goes on, Thibodeau will undoubtedly incorporate Quickley into the starting five. His potential is through the roof and he has been in the league for just 30 games.
Plays a position of higher importance
Many consider the point guard to be the most important position in the NBA. Immanuel Quickley is a point guard and RJ Barrett is a shooting guard. As a point guard, it is your responsibility to lead the team up the court and generate plays. Quickley has adjusted into that role very well. Meanwhile, at shooting guard, Barrett is great at his best but continues to play without consistency. As the young point guard can generate plays, big men such as Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson will have increased roles in nearly every possession.
Overall, the Knicks wouldn’t be where they are without Quickley. At 14-16, the team is in prime position to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years and while it is mainly due to Julius Randle’s superb play, Quickley’s progress cannot be ignored. It is nearly guaranteed that if Immanuel Quickley was out for four games, the Knicks would win two or less. Meanwhile, if Barrett was out, it wouldn’t be as much of a setback. Although Quickley may lead the Knicks for years to come, Barrett will surely have a significant role to play in the rebuild in New York.