immanuel quickley
Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Immanuel Quickley’s ups and downs in the Las Vegas Summer League show why the New York Knicks want to give him these reps.

Danny Small

The New York Knicks are letting Immanuel Quickley run the show at Las Vegas Summer League. He’s playing point guard with his typical fearlessness, which translated to a win on Monday against the Indiana Pacers.

He finished with 32 points, leading all scorers en route to a 94-86 victory, but he was more than just a scorer. Quickley got his teammates involved by dishing out eight assists as well.

Opening Game Dud

This monster performance came less than 24 hours after Quickley laid an egg in his Las Vegas Summer League debut. Although he finished with eight assists in the 89-79 loss, he was just 5-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-11 from deep.

Fearlessness is a crucial part of Quickley’s game, but it can also lead to these types of brutal shooting performances. IQ is never going to be afraid to take the next shot after a miss.

This is true on a possession-by-possession basis, but it also works game to game. How else could a 22-year-old bounce back with a 5-for-17 shooting night with a 32-point outburst?

Reps on Reps

The highs and lows of Summer League are par for the course. The action is sloppy, the players are unfamiliar with one another, and the games don’t mean a thing. In other words, it’s the perfect time to let Quickley (and the other young guys on the roster) experiment out on the court.

Even though he’s entering his second year, IQ has not had a ton of reps in his NBA career. He played on a playoff team where playing time was precious. There is an argument to be made that Quickley deserved to be on the All-Rookie First Team, but he didn’t play big enough minutes to beat out others.

In addition to the grind for minutes on a playoff-bound team, Quickley didn’t have any Summer League last season. The COVID-19 shutdown and shortened offseason took that opportunity away from him and the rest of the 2020 rookie class.

The grind doesn’t stop here though. Quickley is getting important point guard reps this summer. With the injury histories of Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose, it’s important to have another point guard who can step in at a moment’s notice. IQ’s versatility is going to help him stay in a competitive rotation this year.

All of this can be said about Obi Toppin as well. His path to a major role on the Knicks is different from Quickley’s. After all, Toppin is the second-string power forward behind All-NBAer Julius Randle.

Toppin showed the good and bad in Monday’s win. He turned the ball over five times in the first half but responded with no turnovers in the second half.

Getting the reps for young guys like Quickley and Toppin in Summer League is more important than the on-court results.