Raptors Notes: Quickley, Barrett, Trade, Knicks

While OG Anunoby and RJ Barrett may have more name recognition, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic believes Immanuel Quickley is the “most interesting” and “highest-upside player” from Saturday’s trade between the Raptors and Knicks.

As Vecenie writes, Quickley is a strong three-level scorer who is particularly lethal in pick-and-rolls. Vecenie points to Quickley’s performance in an expanded role last season — he averaged 22.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 5.1 APG on .469/.401/.846 shooting in 21 starts (38.6 MPG) — as evidence that the fourth-year guard should thrive with Toronto.

Quickley’s passing, especially to outside shooters, is an area where he can improve, according to Vecenie, who cites on-ball defense as another improvement area. However, he praises the 24-year-old’s ability to limit turnovers on offense and believes Quickly is a plus team defender who makes good decisions.

Quickley’s shooting and ability to play both on and off the ball should fit well with ascendant third-year forward Scottie Barnes, Vecenie adds.

Barrett, on the other hand, is not a smooth fit for Toronto’s current roster, Vecenie writes. While he’s still only 23, Barrett is more or less the same player he was when he was drafted five years ago, according to Vecenie: A talented shot creator who can get to the rim but struggles to finish once he’s there, and a very inconsistent shooter who regularly goes through high variance stretches.

Vecenie notes that Quickley has struggled early in his career in the postseason, whereas Barrett had some strong performances last season against Cleveland and Miami. But Vecenie still likes Quickley’s long-term prospects much more than Barrett’s.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca has a fairly similar view of the two players, writing that Quickley looks like a better fit on Toronto’s roster than Barrett due to former’s ability to draw defensive attention with his shooting and quick release. People around the league view Barrett as having roughly “neutral value” in the first season of his four-year, $107MM+ extension, Murphy writes in another piece focusing on the Raptors’ cap situation post-trade. Murphy points out that Quickley shares an agent with Precious Achiuwa (who was sent from Toronto in New York in the deal), and says Toronto likely wouldn’t have made the trade without an idea of what it will take to sign Quickley as a restricted free agent.
  • Quickley thought he was dreaming when he found out he was traded, as it transpired while he was awoken by a phone call from his agent, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca, who passes along quotes from Quickley and Barrett’s introductory press conferences. “I was in Indy [Friday], I was planning to play that night [against the Pacers],” Quickley said. “Really, I was asleep. My agent called me, and he said, ‘Call me right away, you’re getting traded.’ Thought it was still a dream because I just woke up. … It’s been unbelievable. Couldn’t ask for anything better. Great city, great culture, the camaraderie of the team is great. You can tell people care about each other around here. And you couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”
  • Toronto native Barrett is also excited to play for his hometown team, as Grange relays. “I think for anybody to go home there is going to be, you know, a different feeling than for anybody else,” Barrett said. “[Basketball] is the sport I play. This is what I do. I’m just going to be here to do my job [but] — I believe in this team. I believe that we can, we’re gonna figure it out and figure out a way to be one of those top teams, you know. And so I think once we get to that point, over there, it’s gonna feel even sweeter.”
  • Fred Katz and Eric Koreen of The Athletic weigh the pros and cons of the trade from the Knicks‘ and Raptors’ perspectives. Koreen believes Anunoby is a major defensive upgrade for New York, but his offense may not have much room for growth going forward. Katz thinks Quickley will excel in Toronto, and should have no trouble translating his per-minute numbers to a larger offensive role. Both Quickley and Barrett are known for having a strong work ethic, Katz notes.
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