Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Bembry, Johnson, Reed

Immanuel Quickley had an impressive start to his rookie season with the Knicks. The 6’3″ guard, who was the 25th overall pick out of Kentucky, scored at least 19 points in 11 of his first 36 NBA games. However, over the last few weeks, Quickley has hit a wall and fallen into a shooting slump. The Knicks have also dropped four of their previous five games. 

With Quickley struggling, Marc Berman of the New York Post wonders whether the rookie has a future as a starting NBA point guard or if he’ll end up as a bench scorer. Berman elicits opinions from multiple scouts in his look at Quickley’s future role.

“He played above his pay grade the first few months,’” said former Sixers scout Michael VandeGarde, who now runs a scouting service. “He’s coming back down to earth. It happens a lot with kids for short periods when they play so well early. Only time will tell what he really is.’”

More from the Atlantic Division: 

  • Veteran guard DeAndre’ Bembry signed a two-year deal with the Raptors before the season, and while the signing went under the radar, he has been vital to his new team. As Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes, Bembry is capable of guarding at least three positions on defense and has shown enough on offense to earn himself regular playing time.
  • Celtics big man Tristan Thompson appears ready to make his return after a lengthy absence due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Thompson last played on March 14.
  • While he doesn’t receive as much attention as his star teammates, Alize Johnson who’s currently on his second 10-day contract in Brooklyn, is providing the Nets with strong production. “There are some nights where it might not look like he’s showing up on the stat sheet, but he does all the little stuff all the time. And then when we need him to come up for us offensively, he typically does,” Nets guard Joe Harris said of Johnson, per Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post.
  • Rich Hofmann of The Athletic profiled Sixers rookie Paul Reed, taking a look at the NBA G League MVP known as “Bball Paul.” While Reed may not see a ton of playing time the rest of the way, he’s “now very much part of the Sixers’ team fabric,” Hofmann writes.
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20 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Bembry, Johnson, Reed

  1. KnickerbockerAl

    Quickly is a 20 yr old rookie, 25th pick in the draft. Why would anyone call him the answer at PG now. Next question please. Quickly is not a true PG, he’s learning. He has a chance to be at least a rotation guy. He’s a good shooter and can handle the ball. Rose, Quickly, Burkes are solid depth for Knicks at guards. I think they are still looking for their #1 PG. I still believe in Obi1, but imagine we drafted Halliburton. RJ(SG), Randle(PF), Mitch(C), Bullock(SF). Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Next yr PGs ———. Davion Mitchell,
    Josh Giddey, Ayo Dosunmu, David Duke. All will be on Knicks Board at draft.

    • Halliburton would have been great, but I believe in Obi. He’s shown flashes but doesn’t get a lot of PT. Just how Thibs functions, I guess. Hopefully, Obi is putting in the work and impressing in practice. He seems like he has the right attitude.

    • buttholesurfer69

      Halliburton has been great but Quickley hasn’t been too far behind – look at PER and Off BPM he’s right there with him

      Now is he a “true” PG? Maybe, maybe not. But he could easily play next to a guy like Randle – who essentially acts as a point forward 1/2 the time anyway. I think his upside is substantial.

      Obi has the length and athleticism to be a stud. He’s a little older for a rook, but between his injury and COVID, etc I feel ok about giving him a mulligan on this year.

      I wouldn’t hammer NY for taking him yet.

  2. phenomenalajs

    Alize Johnson will get signed for the rest of the season. Unless someone else comes free in the next couple days, it’ll be a standard contract. If a PG they like comes available, they may release Chiozza and convert Alize Johnson to a two-way.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    Thompson has been a disappointment in my view. Needs to find his groove. Cause they need his A gm for playoffs.

    • mlbnyyfan

      I wish I could believe in OB1. I guess he needs more PT. I just thought Halliburton was the answer because hopefully the Knicks won’t be drafting that high again.

      • KnickerbockerAl

        No one saw Randle coming. I believe they drafted Obi1. Cause they were planning on moving Randle. FO tried twice last yr, and pretty much seemed like they would do it this yr. Gotta give Randle plenty credit. He never gave up and came back stronger and better. Obi1 is a starter in this league IMO. I truly think they might move him next yr. Knicks will look to add a young vet star. Either PG or wing player.

        • formerlyz

          Man Randle was always on the cusp of this, but I would agree it was hard to know he would for sure make the jump he did. He always struggled a bit more going right/finishing with his right hand, and he has fouled less defensively, the jump shot has been better (while it had been improving over time), and even his decision making has been slightly better (also as it had been improving over time). I also think that guys just played better off him, knowing he was going to be more of a focal point. I dont like college basketball, but in 2014, I watched a significant amount of it, and I specifically watched him every single game b/c he was my favorite player coming into that draft, as well as Marcus Smart, and Embiid. He was a grown man against kids. His strength was so obvious, and captivating for me. Super happy for him.

          I still think they should have taken Haliburton, but will admit they’ve done a good job of developing certain areas of Toppin that I didnt like about him in his limited minutes. I just think they shouldnt have drafted him, considering the multiple guys at that position, some of them developing themselves, and therefore his lack of playing time. Would like to see him get more opportunities at the 5, as I think that will potentially give them better spacing, opening up his shooting, but it’s hard to get enough consistent minutes there with the 3 guys still currently in front of him, as they attempt to make the playoffs

          • buttholesurfer69

            The thing with Randle I didn’t see coming was the play making. The dude is seriously impressive creating offense this year.

            Thing I wonder is if the 3% sticks. Some guys have that outlier year where they shoot 40 and then relapse into the low 30s. Randle only had one season above *30%* prior to this year.

            • formerlyz

              I always thought he had the potential to be a playmaker with almost all of the offense running through him before he was drafted. The elite 3 point shooting is the area for me. I thought he would improve, maybe be a 35% guy, which is fine for someone like him, but to shoot at 40% is impressive

  4. metsie1

    Everyone should take a deep breath on evaluating guys good or bad based on half a season. People seem to forget that this is a very different year because of CoVid. NBA Summer League is played for a reason. This year it didn’t happen. Guys like Obi Toppin and Quickly basically got 2 or 3 weeks of practice and jumped right into the season. This is true of all the first year players. Quite possible they both are hitting the wall as the NBA season is twice the amount of games as an NCAA season. I’d give all these guys until the end of next season before full judgments are made.

  5. Another useless article from Marc Berman. If you look at Quickley’s game logs, it’s pretty difficult to see much of a difference between the last few weeks and the previous few months. The only one I can see is that recently, he hasn’t had a big, breakout game of 25+ points.

    He’s a streaky shooter. One day, he’ll drop 20, then he’ll go three games with under 10 points. Much ado about nothing for a rookie acclimating himself to a full NBA season schedule. He’ll be fine.

    • padam

      Agreed. The other issue is consistent playing time. Since they acquired Rose, his playing time has been sporadic. Add in Thibbs as a coach and you’ve got a kid who needs playing time.

  6. formerlyz

    I liked Quickley in the draft as a combo guard that is a very strong catch and shoot guy, and can be a secondary or third playmaker. That’s why I originally had him around d the spot he was drafted, but to the Pakers before they traded their pick. Works great for the Knicks playing off guys like Randle and Barrett, and while they have someone like Derrick Rose, who understands how to get into the paint, and facilitate. I would imagine that being one of their only shooters, outside of Bullock, and Burks, the league has guarded him/closed out harder to him, so hopefully, he get to that next level, which would be to attack the paint, and facilitate, which should be easier once they can grab another shooter. While their bigs have filled in more than adequately, one area where they do miss Mitchell Robinson is the spacing he provides from above the rim, as a lob threat, which Noel can give them a facsimile of, but not as big of a target. That being said, I think that’s where Toppin could be more useful as well, as he has shown flashes of in his minutes at the 5

    • formerlyz

      Damn the typos…hard to proof read when in can barely look at a screen still…*Lakers

  7. emac22

    Berman is such a stooge!

    Why is the question if he is a real PG or not?

    He’s better than Payton every day of the week and the team is better when he’s on the floor at PG even if he isn’t hitting his shots because he can’t be ignored by the defense.

    When the Knicks sign CP3 we can talk about if Quickley is good enough but until then the only question is if he’s better than the other guys on the team at PG and he clearly is.

    He helps spacing so other guys don’t have to work so hard.

    Most importantly he doesn’t turn the ball over.

    As for his shooting, Thibs pulls him if he misses his first 4 shots and that’s not how basketball works. Sometimes you hit your first 5 and sometimes you miss your first 5. That really doesn’t mean anything about what your shooting percentage is after 10 shots.

    I don’t care how many shots Quickley misses in a game. He’s still more likely to hit the next shot than Payton is so it never makes sense to play Payton.

    The biggest crime is that Quickley hasn’t been getting minutes in games like Minnesota. If Thibs had prioritized getting him development minutes more he’d be more developed now.

    • buttholesurfer69

      100% agree. I’ve been on the Quick bandwagon for a minute now and I have no plan to drop off.

      Yes Payton is better overall defender – although it should be noted the +\- doesn’t nec agree – but Quickley brings so much more offensively I still think he deserves lead minutes.

      Defense has been NY’s fulcrum this year so I can’t complain too much tho.

  8. KnickerbockerAl

    Yeah I agree players need PT and time to experience the NBA. I like Quickly but he came in as more a combo guard, shooter. It’s why they brought in Rose
    (a scoring PG) to mentor him. Quickly still needs to learn to a run an offense and manage a gm. But I’m more than OK with RJ n Dinwiddie starting. And Burkes, Quickly, Rose backing up. Two FA I would love to sign are Dinwiddie and Fournier. That elevates our offense significantly. And they are 26 and 27.

  9. Berman should wonder about his own future, as a beat writer without team sources. Quickley is doing fine. He’s run hot and cold all year, nothing new. What’s changed, if anything, is the team. Early in the year, IQ was our best 3 pt shooter, even if erratic, and Barrett was so bad shooting from 3 that he wasn’t even playing much down the stretch of games so Randle could be surrounded with at least some credible shooting threats. Thibs didn’t have the luxury of going away from IQ when he was off early. Since then, Bullock and Burks have emerged as every night solid 25-30 mpg 3 and D players. Barrett (as players like him do) has found a way to overcome his shooting woes, via shot selection mostly, and find finishing/facilitation chances behind Randle, who in turn upped his 3 pt shooting game. The Knicks (at the bottom for so long) are actually a top 10 3 pt shooting team now. IQ can still earn the extra minutes night to night, but they won’t come much on the wings or easy even on the point (get ready for a Barrett-Burks-Bullock finishing group on the perimeter, it’s coming). All of it is a good thing for the team and the development of a young player that has much to work on.

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