Immanuel Quickley

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Irving, Quickley, Stevens, Joe

Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant is trying to stay optimistic as the Kyrie Irving situation drags on, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. Irving can’t practice at the team’s facility and will have to miss more than half of its games unless he changes his mind and gets vaccinated. Durant believes Irving will eventually rejoin his teammates.

“I’m envisioning Kyrie being a part of our team,” Durant said. “Maybe I’m just naïve, but that is just how I feel. But I think everybody here has that confidence in themselves, in our group, that if we keep building, we can do something special.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks have a crowded backcourt but second-year guard Immanuel Quickley remains part of the team’s plans. Coach Tom Thibodeau believes he can play Quickley in a number of different guard combinations, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. “The great value with (Quickley) is that he plays with Derrick (Rose) and Alec (Burks), and so really the point (guard) is interchangeable with those guys. They move the ball and they make plays for each other real well,” Thibodeau said. “So, oftentimes, Quickley will bring it up. Derrick will bring it up. Alec could bring it up or we’ll get into dribble-handoffs. … We’re gonna fly around.”
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens doesn’t miss the daily grind of being the head coach, he told A. Sherrod Blakely of Full Court Press. “I haven’t had to worry about practice plan, game plan, none of that,” said Stevens. “I’ve enjoyed watching Ime (Udoka) put the team together and figure out how he wants to play, who compliments who, and all those things that go into that.”
  • Sixers second-year guard Isaiah Joe is angling for playing time and he’s gotten off to a good start in the preseason, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. He had 18 points — including four 3-pointers — three rebounds and three steals against the Raptors. “We’ve got to get him on the floor more is what I keep telling our coaches,” coach Doc Rivers said, “because those 10 guys [in the rotation] are playing so much. … I told [Joe], I don’t care what unit you’re on, just keep going back and forth.”

Olympic Notes: Bridges, Washington, Quickley, Stewart, Hernangomez

Hornets forward Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington and Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley are no longer with the U.S. Select Team scrimmaging against Team USA’s Olympic roster in Las Vegas, tweets ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The three players have been removed from the mix due to the coronavirus protocols.

A person with knowledge of the situation told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press that one of those three players tested positive for COVID-19, while the other two were deemed close contacts and are being held out for precautionary reasons. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (via Twitter), Quickley entered the protocols for contact tracing purposes rather than a positive test, which suggests that one of the Hornets forwards was the player who tested positive.

Here’s more on the Olympics:

  • The U.S. Select Team is down another player, according to Windhorst, who tweets that Pistons center Isaiah Stewart suffered an ankle injury during a scrimmage and left the game to receive treatment. There’s no indication at this point that Stewart’s injury is a significant one.
  • Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez, who had been preparing to represent Spain in the Olympics, dislocated his left shoulder during an exhibition game and will miss the Tokyo games, Reynolds writes for The Associated Press. The Wolves put out a statement indicating they’re aware of Hernangomez’s injury, but there’s no timeline yet for his recovery and return to the court.
  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry said it was a “hard decision” not to play for Team USA at the Olympics this summer, but he has “no regrets at all” about opting to skip the event, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN. “You take everything into account,” said Curry, who has won a pair of FIBA World Cup gold medals but hasn’t played in the Olympics. “I take how I’m feeling physically, mentally, what’s happening around the league, all those things. It’s not one specific reason or a part of it, but just knowing at the end of the day do I want to play or not? And the answer was no at the end of the day. And getting ready for next season (with a) relatively quick turnaround is important to me and I have a plan of how to do that and get ready for when training camp starts.”

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are:

Ball, Edwards, Haliburton Head All-Rookie Team

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced on Thursday in a press release.

Ball, who was named Rookie of the Year on Thursday, led first-year NBA players in assists (6.1 APG) and steals (1.59 SPG) and ranked second in scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (5.9 RPG) for the Hornets. Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Timberwolves, averaged a rookie-high 19.3 PPG.

The Kings’ Haliburton ranked third among rookies in scoring (13.0 PPG) and second in assists (5.3 APG). Bey, the 19th overall pick, made a rookie-high 175 three-pointers for the Pistons. Tate, who went undrafted in 2018 and played in Australia last season, averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 PPG for the Rockets.

Ball and Edwards were the only unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 potential First Team votes. Haliburton got 98, while Bey had 63 and Tate received 57.

Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley narrowly missed out on the top five, having earned 51 votes for the First Team.

Here are both All-Rookie teams in full, with their voting point totals notes in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2020/21 All-Rookie First Team:

2020/21 All-Rookie Second Team:

Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (42), Magic guard Cole Anthony (40), and Warriors center James Wiseman (24) were among the players who just missed the cut. Nine other players received votes — you can view the full voting results right here.

Knicks Notes: Toppin, Quickley, Ntilikina, Randle

Obi Toppin has been the Knicks‘ more productive rookie in the playoffs, while Immanuel Quickley is struggling to find his game, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Toppin is coming off a career-best 13-point outburst in Game 4, and there’s talk of playing him and Julius Randle together to help turn the series around.

“I just really feel like I’ve just been locked in, studying a lot of film, paying attention to every little detail possible that I need for each game,” Toppin said. “I feel like the more details I know on the defensive side, I feel like the offensive side will just come to me if I just play my basketball and play team basketball.”

As a lottery pick, Toppin was expected to be a difference maker right away, but Quickley, who was taken at No. 25, had the better regular season, averaging 11.4 points per game and becoming a regular part of the backcourt rotation. His shot has deserted him in the playoffs, as he’s hitting just 29.6% from the field and scoring 4.5 PPG.

“I love it when people count me out,” Quickley said. “I feel like that’s how my whole life in basketball has been, when people say you can’t do something or you’re not good enough or that’s not possible. I feel like that kind of drives our team as well. When we came into this season, everybody was expecting us to be in the lottery.”

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • Derrick Rose will likely remain in the starting lineup for Game 5, but coach Tom Thibodeau sidestepped a question about playing Frank Ntilikina, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Ntilikina has only been used for three defensive possessions throughout the entire series. “I think Derrick is proven to be a very good player in this league for a long time,’’ Thibodeau said. “As a team we have to play better. We know that. In terms of Frank, he’s an important part of the team.”
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic examines the adjustments the Hawks have made to slow down Randle, who averaged 37.3 PPG against them in the regular season. Randle, who is in the playoffs for the first time in his career, has been forced to deal with two and sometimes three defenders every time he catches the ball.
  • A fan accused of throwing a beer at the Knicks’ bench during Game 2 has been permanently banned from Madison Square Garden, Berman writes in a separate story.

Knicks Notes: Bullock, Toppin, Quickley, Crowd Size

Reggie Bullock has taken advantage of the chance to prove he can be a long-term fixture with the Knicks, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Bullock arrived at training camp with just a small guarantee on this season’s contract, but he quickly proved his worth to new coach Tom Thibodeau and earned a spot in the starting lineup.

“I felt like I was starting at zero, but I knew what type of coach he was,” Bullock said. “I never played for him, but I knew that he was a hard-nosed type of coach, and I felt like he could be a coach to bring the best out of me, which he is doing. The things that he expects on the offensive and defensive end plays to my skill set. … He has a lot of belief in me, I have a lot of belief in him to prepare our team and myself, second to none in this league.”

Bullock is New York’s best perimeter defender and a dangerous outside shooter, connecting at 41% from beyond the arc this season. He figures to be an offseason priority for the Knicks in free agency and would love to get a long-term deal to stay with the team.

“I found a home,” said Bullock, who has played for five teams in eight seasons. “I’m just happy and excited to have actually found a place where a coach and organization believe in the things that I do on both ends of the floor.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Rookie forward Obi Toppin is likely to see his playing time reduced in the first-round series against Atlanta, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Sources tell Berman that the Hawks expect to see more minutes for Julius Randle and veteran backup Taj Gibson, who may be used at power forward as well as center, and fewer for Toppin.
  • Fellow rookie Immanuel Quickley will continue to play an important role in the playoffs, Berman adds in the same story. Quickley is looking forward to the postseason opportunity after having the NCAA tournament canceled last year. “When you play in postseason on any level, the level of intensity is intensified,” he said. “It’s usually low-scoring and defense. Just watching it all my life, watching the playoffs, it’s always been kind of cool. It’s going to be even more fun to be out there with my teammates.’’
  • After playing without home crowds for most of the season, the Knicks are excited to have 15,000 fans at Madison Square Garden for today’s playoff opener, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “I do think the home crowd is going to help us a lot,” RJ Barrett said. “It was loud when it was 2,000 people in here. 15,000 is going to be crazy.”

Knicks Notes: Burks, Robinson, Quickley, Thibodeau

The Knicks will be cautious with Alec Burks, who missed the past seven games while in the league’s health and safety protocols, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Burks wasn’t listed on the team’s injury report that was issued Saturday night, but coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t committed to playing him tonight at Houston. Burks was able to practice Saturday, but is being considered day-to-day.

“He’s got to get his conditioning up to speed,” Thibodeau said. “When he’s comfortable, we’ll get him in there.”

Burks has been an important part of the Knicks’ progress this year, averaging 12.6 points per game, mostly off the bench, and shooting 40.8% from three-point range. However, the team was able to win six of its seven games while he was sidelined.

“I think it’s one of the strengths of our club in that we do have a deep team,” Thibodeau said.

There’s more on the Knicks:

  • It’s been more than a month since Mitchell Robinson had surgery on his broken foot, but he’s still not involved in any basketball activities, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Robinson has missed the last 17 games and isn’t expected back during the regular season, although it’s not clear if the playoffs are a possibility. “I don’t want to put any timetable on it,” Thibodeau said. “To be honest, I don’t know. That would be up to the doctors, the trainers, all the medical people. We don’t want to take any chances with it. So we’re going to be very patient and make sure he’s completely healed before we get him going again.”
  • Immanuel Quickley has started shooting from several feet beyond the three-point line, which doesn’t bother his coach, Bondy adds in the same piece. “I don’t want to put a lid on it,” Thibodeau said. “… We want him to read the defense. When he has an opening, sometimes in transition those are the best looks that he’ll get. Particularly when teams are blitzing him. So we have a lot of confidence in his shooting. That’s his gift.”
  • In a separate story, Braziller looks at what the Knicks will have to do for the rest of the regular season to avoid a play-in game. New York is currently fourth in the East with a game and a half lead over the seventh-place Heat.

Knicks Notes: Toppin, Core Duo, Thibs, Payton

Knicks rookie Obi Toppin was able to carve out more minutes on Saturday as All-Star Julius Randle‘s backup thanks to his improved long-range shooting touch, as he went 3-for-4 from deep, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Toppin scored nine points in 8:38 of game action for a 120-103 New York victory over the Raptors. He earned a commendation from Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau.

“Obi has been practicing great, I thought he played great tonight,’’ Thibodeau said. “He puts a lot of time into his shooting. He’s coming back at night. He’s grooving his shot so I think he’s gaining confidence. He’s practicing well too when we do practice. His concentration has improved. So he’s an important part of the second unit.’’

There’s more out of New York:

  • After the Knicks whiffed on signing free agent superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during the summer of 2019, the team has recovered admirably with an intriguing core duo, per Steve Popper of Newsday. New York pivoted by signing forward Julius Randle to a now-bargain three-year, $63MM deal that summer and selecting RJ Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has helped strengthen that core. “I wanted to see where he was conditioning-wise, get to know him a little bit,” Thibodeau said of Randle. “He’s our engine, and he’s been a great leader right from the start.”
  • Knicks second-year forward Barrett supports coach Tom Thibodeau as a Coach of the Year contender for the 2020/21 season, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. With Thibodeau’s addition, the Knicks are currently riding a season-high nine-game win streak to a 34-27 record and own the East’s No. 4 seed. Thibodeau has clearly been instrumental in the development of Barrett and Randle. “We all believe in Thibs,” Barrett said. “He’s done a tremendous job in how he’s turned everything around. The way he has us playing hard every single night and we’re getting wins. The whole staff, every day, we’re working hard, just pushing us. It’s a great feeling. I’m sure the fans see how hard we’re working and having them in the Garden has been great overall.’’
  • Starting Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton is losing playing time to key reserves Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose, notes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Yesterday, Payton logged his second-lowest minutes total (14:44) in a game in which he was available this year. Vorkonuv wonders if Thibodeau will at some point switch out Quickley or Rose to start, though both players have been excellent bench cogs.

Knicks Notes: Playoff Seed, Fans, Success, Randle

The red-hot Knicks carried a seven-game winning streak into their game against Atlanta on Wednesday. They sit in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with new aspirations of getting home court advantage in the opening round, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. If they finish fourth, they’ll achieve that goal.

“We have a mentality there is no seventh, eighth seed for us. It’s strictly focused on the 4-5-6 and making sure we have a solid spot,” center Nerlens Noel said. “We worked really hard this season. It would be tough to put in that much work in and have a play-in thing. We have to take advantage of the position we’re in now and finish strong through this last stretch of the season so we’re in position to have one of those locked-in spots.”

We have more on the Knicks:

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that indoor capacity for both the Knicks and Nets can increase from the current 10% to 25% for the playoffs, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. The relaxed restrictions will kick in May 19, though the Knicks might have a play-in game on May 18.
  • The team’s season has already been a massive success regardless of how the rest of the campaign plays out, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes. Julius Randle has proven he can carry a team offensively, Immanuel Quickley has shown he’ll a long-term backcourt starter, and coach Tom Thibodeau’s offensive and defensive schemes have given the franchise a much-needed identity.
  • Randle has reached another potential bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Randle has appeared in 58 games and if the Knicks get a top six spot in the Eastern Conference or reach the first round via the play-in tournament, he’ll add another $945K to his bank account. He’s already earned a $945K bonus for being an All-Star.

Knicks Notes: Rose, Henson, Quickley, Barrett

Knicks guard Derrick Rose still doesn’t have his wind back after contracting the coronavirus last month, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Rose, who missed 10 games due to the virus and an ankle sprain, had significant symptoms and described his bout as having the flu “times 10.” He’s served as a key cog for New York this year, averaging 11.9 points, four assists and 25 minutes in 16 games.

“Having COVID, coming back in, missing the game, just trying to get my rhythm, trying to get my timing down, trying to get my wind, but that’s going to come,” Rose said, as relayed by Berman. “I’m trying to use these last 20-something games to prep myself for a playoff series.

“It’s going to take some time, but it’s going day by day, practice by practice, and in the game, quarter by quarter. I had a pretty good half last game and now the goal is to have two legit halves and just play as hard as I can so I can build up my wind.”

There’s more out of New York today:

  • John Henson will miss Friday’s game against Memphis due to a calf strain, according to Berman (Twitter link). Henson is under a 10-day contract with the team and may not see time due to the injury. The 30-year-old is in his ninth NBA season and holds past experience with Milwaukee, Cleveland and Detroit.
  • Immanuel Quickley denied that he’s hitting the well-documented “rookie wall,” Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. As Bondy details, Quickley is shooting just 31% in his last seven games, working to get through a slump. “As far as the rookie wall, I don’t really feel it,” Quickley said. “I’m just gonna continue to do whatever’s got me here,” he said. “There’s gonna be ups and downs throughout a season, ups and downs throughout a game.”
  • RJ Barrett continues to make strides in his second NBA season, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. Barrett has increased his scoring average from 14.3 to 17.5 points per game this year, also raising his shooting marks from 40% to 45% from the field and 32% to 38% from deep. “He’s coming into his own and knowing who he is as a player,” teammate Julius Randle said. “Down the stretch, he’s getting to his spots. He’s playing well. Very comfortable and continuing to grow as a player.”