RJ Barrett is a year away from his rookie season with the Knicks and has still seen the typical ups and downs that all young players go through early in their NBA careers.
Barrett, Julius Randle and other Knicks have consistently been impressed with the confidence and ability of rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley to sway the games during the 9/11 start, including Friday night’s 25-point performance in a win against Cleveland at the Garden .
« I’m just looking at it like he’s a newbie man. He’s a newbie. It’s my sophomore year and I’m still going through it, » Barrett said after the game. « It is some kind of basketball. I think everyone goes through it no matter what.
« We just encourage him and he plays really hard. That’s all we can ask for. He plays hard and does plays. He does sweepstakes. He shoots him Basketball. He really does it for us and we appreciate him. «
Tom Thibodeau has consistently turned down questions about Elfrid Payton’s inclusion of the Kentucky rookie, but Friday’s game was the last time the coach saw him Stopped at a hot Quickley in the fourth quarter to end a win.
Quickley, the 25th overall 2020 draft winner, admitted that part of his comfort factor was the presence of assistant coach Kenny Payne, who was in that Kentucky role under John Calipari was with him before joining Thibodeau’s coaching staff this season.
« It helped me transition, great, honestly, » said Quickley. “Not even from the basketball side, just from someone I know who will drive me on day in and day out, someone I can talk to, basically almost like a father figure. It’s just great to have him, honestly. «
According to Thibodeau, he met Payne a few years ago through current Knicks manager William Wesley, and they had had several conversations before various drafts about college players came out.
» I found him very insightful I had never seen him on the floor as a coach, but I had heard great things from people I have great respect for in the industry, starting with John Calipari, ”Thibodeau said on Saturday at the home tea on Sunday against the Clippers « We wanted an emphasis on player development and teaching skills, so I thought it would be a good fit for us. I’m very happy with our staff. We have a number of great teachers and I think that was a big plus. » for us. «
Quickley, 21, was certainly a quick study. In particular, he has demonstrated the ability to recover from bad runs, for example after Tuesday’s 1:11 shooting night in Utah by making five of eight 3-point attempts against the Cavaliers on Friday night.
« We have seen it from day one when he got here approaching things, « said Thibodeau. « He’s a student of the game, a great worker, a great attitude, a great approach. And the ups and downs of an NBA season, I think he prepares very well and his confidence comes from his preparation. </ P "He has great concentration and great effort every day. And he can play well, even if he doesn't shoot well. He obviously has a lot of confidence in this shot and his all-round game. And he is one of those people who gets better with every game I am very happy with his progress. "
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