As a Kentucky basketball fan, it might be hard to choose a favorite NBA team. We do have 30 former Kentucky players currently on active NBA rosters, after all. But fret no more, there is an easy solution: hop on board the ‘Kentucky Knicks’ train.
New York was already home to former Kentucky stars Julius Randle and Kevin Knox, but after drafting Immanuel Quickley, hiring Kenny Payne and acquiring Nerlens Noel, Kentucky fans gave the team its new nickname and swiftly ordered their jerseys.
Randle has been off to a hot start this season, averaging 22.6 points per game and 12 rebounds. Following New York’s last win over the Utah Jazz, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau called Randle the “engine” of the team. Every train, though, has several key components to make it run.
Rookie Immanuel Quickley has proven himself to be one of those parts. Quickley has found chemistry with Knicks teammate and former Duke star Austin Rivers. In a recent interview with the New York Post, Rivers said Quickley plays, “with more confidence” than any rookie he has played with.
Quickley is currently sitting at 6.6 points per game and shooting 40% from three. While his stats might not raise many eyebrows right now, he has undeniably shown the loyal Knicks fanbase that he brings high energy and exciting potential to the team.
The Knicks are currently 5-4 after starting 1-8 last season, giving many long-time fans hope. New York native and University of Kentucky junior Justin Conti said while he loves the Knicks, he was nervous Quickley wouldn’t be able to perform to his fullest potential due to the team’s deficiency in offense (and winning) over the past six seasons.
Now, he admits he was wrong. “After watching him play with the team this season, I believe he was a huge steal by the Knicks,” Conti said. “I believe he has the potential to become the Knicks’ franchise starting point guard.”
The Kentucky Knicks play next on Sunday night at 6 p.m. against Jamal Murray’s Denver Nuggets, where we will hopefully see some more minutes from Quick.