The grand city of New York might finally have a competent basketball team. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is working wonders for the New York Knicks, leading them to a promising 8-11 start by drastically improving the defense. Yet, Knicks fans have still found a reason to complain. In the offseason, it seemed clear that the Knicks needed a point guard. They addressed the problem by drafting Immanuel Quickley with the 25th pick and re-signing Elfrid Payton. Payton got the nod to start once the season began, but a series of good games by Quickley has fans questioning who should truly be the starter.
Should Immanuel Quickley Start?
Why Immanuel Quickley?
Starting Quickley would the bold move, but with each passing game, it makes a little more sense. When Quickley comes in the game, the offense looks more dynamic. Quickley has the ability to shoot off the dribble, which makes him a much larger threat off the pick-and-roll than Payton. In a pick-and-roll, Quickley can shoot a three, attack and shoot a floater, or pass the ball off. Quickley can throw skip passes, hit the roll man, but will need to work on more dynamic passes in transition.
Quickley also lines up with the timeline that the Knicks roster is currently on. Payton is 26-years-old and should be entering his prime years, while the rest of the team is still growing. The point guard is known to be the hardest position to play in the NBA, and it may benefit Quickley to make his mistakes early, and be ready to lead once he enters his prime. It may make sense to go ahead and give Quickley the opportunity to grow with RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Mitchell Robinson.
Why Elfrid Payton?
Payton has been the starter so far this year. With Thibodeau taking over as head coach, this was expected. Thibodeau has always preferred playing veterans and defensive players. Starting Payton likely makes Thibodeau most comfortable, and with the Knicks being somewhat successful so far, why change?
Payton is 26-years-old and should be entering his prime. Thibodeau could have Payton start as a steadying force and an extension of his will on the court. He may also benefit the young core. Barrett, Robinson, and Toppin are all going to be players that need the ball in certain spots to succeed. Payton knows how to get players the ball in spots they like while spending time with him on the floor would help maximize their growth.
What Should the Knicks do?
Thibodeau recently let the media know how he feels about starting Quickley.
“We like the group that he’s with right now, and we think it functions best that way,” said Thibodeau. “You want to have everybody play to their strengths and also you want to cover up people’s weaknesses. So right now we feel the best opportunity for us to win is doing the things we’re doing.”
In typical Thibodeau fashion, he would rather go with the more established guard, but delaying the inevitable may be detrimental to Quickley long term.
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