The Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley has the support of Damian Lillard in his Sixth Man of the Year candidacy.
The Trail Blazers’ superstar tweeted that Quickley would be his pick for the award, a posting the Knicks’ super sub saw and appreciated.
“It’s pretty cool to have guys like that backing you up. [MSG broadcaster] Mike Breen was showing me Friday morning,” Quickley said. “He’s one of [assistant coach Johnny Bryant’s] guys, so he’s kind of somebody I’ve known since I’ve been in the league for a while.”
Quickley has had a breakout third season, a major factor in the Knicks’ surprising fifth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
He’s averaging career highs in points (14.7), rebounds (4.1) minutes (28.8) and field-goal percentage (44.9).
Quickley follows the players he’s battling against for the award, in particular Malcolm Brogdon, since the Celtics are frequently on national television. But he insisted he’s not rooting against him.
“I’m not a hater,” Quickley joked.
On Sunday, Isaiah Hartenstein will become the first Knick since Justin Holiday in 2016-17 to appear in all 82 regular-season games.
The free-agent addition from the Clippers started slowly, but has had a strong second half to the season as one of the team’s top reserves.
“It means a lot, especially in this day and age,” Hartenstein said, referring to the load management era, in which players frequently are held out of games to rest. “I take a lot of pride in it. You go through nagging stuff. Keep pushing through it, keep doing the little things to make sure your body is feeling good. … Our staff did a really good job of making sure I progressed the right way.”
Julius Randle was on pace to appear in all 82 contests as well before he suffered a left ankle injury in the team’s 77th game, on March 29.
He has not played since.
Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff offered brief thoughts on the upcoming series against the Knicks, according to Cleveland.com:
“We understand and have a ton of respect for them. Having played them recently and seeing them up close, you know what to prepare for and how well-prepared they are going to be,” he said. “We need to go play to our strengths and be who we are. It’s gotten us this far. Obviously, we will make minor adjustments with personnel, but we have a heavy belief in who we are and what we have done.”