Winslow Townson | USA TODAY Sports

Don’t know much about Immanuel Quickley? The Knicks‘ double-overtime win over the Celtics on Sunday should tell you everything you need to know.

Quickley’s 38 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and two blocks led the way for New York while Jalen Brunson nursed a sore foot in street clothes. He was the best player on the floor in a game that featured Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Julius Randle. Enough said.

Anyone who questions IQ’s value to the Knicks should look to his 55 minutes as a clear sign that Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau trusts him as much as anyone. Thibs could put up a billboard in Times Square that says “I Love Immanuel Quickley” and somehow, it would be an understatement.

For the past three seasons, Quickley has been pigeonholed by many as a streaky scorer who will top out as a sixth man and nothing more. He can knock down threes and hit the occasional floater as an off-ball guard. That’s right about where most folks set the ceiling for him. But putting IQ into this neat little box was foolish.

Few players in the NBA are as overlooked when it comes to lifting up teammates. Per Cleaning the Glass, Quickley is part of New York’s five most successful five-man lineups via point differential. He is part of seven of the eight lineups with a positive point differential (out of 16 five-man lineups with 100 or more possessions). In other words, when IQ is on the floor, good things happen.

Check out Basketball Reference‘s lineup pages for further proof of Quickley’s innate ability to make his teammates better. Seven out of 10 of his five-man lineups have a positive net rating. All 10 of his four-man lineups are positive and the same is true of 10 three-man combinations. Out of his two-man duos, eight out of 10 are positive. Only Derrick Rose and Jericho Sims are net negatives with Quickley on the court. Both players are out of the regular rotation.

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His offense is the first thing most basketball fans will notice about his game. He’s fearless with the ball in his hands and his shifty, quick-twitch movement keeps defenders on their toes. Even when he’s not knocking down shots, the defense has to account for him. His gravity on the perimeter opens things up for guys like Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson to isolate, which is a hallmark of this Knicks offensive scheme.

But it’s his defense that might be what sets him apart as a budding star and not a complementary bench piece. IQ’s much longer than he looks, which gives opposing ballhandlers fits on the perimeter. Mitchell Robinson is New York’s best defender because rim protection is more valuable than point-of-attack defense, but IQ is the best in that department. He’s even capable of switching onto bigger, stronger wings like Tatum and Brown when necessary.

Sunday’s game against the Celtics dispelled any myths about Quickley topping out as a sixth man and microwave bench scorer. He’s much more than that. Ironically enough, that virtuoso performance is pushing his Sixth Man of the Year campaign ahead even though his career night came as a starter. But that’s nothing more than a silly technicality in the overall picture.

Quickley is a budding star and one of the keys to a deep Knicks playoff run. As long as Brunson is on the roster (which Knicks fans hope is for a long time), IQ is best suited as the sixth man. But don’t let that fool you. He’s one of the most important players on the Knicks and he’s more than your father’s sixth man. Immanuel Quickley is an emerging star.

Follow Danny Small on Twitter @dwsmall8

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.