Immanuel Quickley: Guard, University of Kentucky
- 6’3” 188 lbs, 21 years old from Havre de Grace, MD
- 2019-20 season at Kentucky: 33 minutes per game, 16.1 points per game on 41% shooting (42.8% from 3 and 92% from the free throw line) 1.9 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1 steal.
- Two seasons at Kentucky: 25 minutes per game, 10.1 points per game on 40% shooting (40% from 3 and 90% from the free throw line) 1.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds
- Advanced stats of strength (per tankathon.com): Offensive Rating (121.3), Projected NBA 3 point % (38.9%), Offensive win shares (.138).
- Advanced stats to improve: Field Goal % (41.7%), Defensive +/- (1.1), Assist rate (.49)
- ACCOLADES: 2019-20 SEC Player of the Year, 2019-2020 All SEC 1st Team, ESPN Breakout Star of 2019-20.
- CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENT: 36th overall (Tankathon), 54th overall (ESPN), 44th overall (CBSSports), 67th overall (Sports Illustrated)
Who would have ever guessed that a 5 star guard from the University of Kentucky that won SEC Player of the Year would be projected to go mid-to-late second round in the NBA Draft. Is it a testament to a down SEC this past season, or the limited/unknown ceiling of Immanuel Quickley?
Quickley did not make much of an impact as a true freshman in a program known for 5-star freshmen playing major roles. A month into his sophomore season, he flipped a switch, and he went on to lead his Wildcats in scoring.
Immanuel has some growing to do as an NBA prospect, but he currently looks to fill the role of a bench scorer. He is a successful catch-and-shoot player beyond the arc, and is even more successful getting to the foul line and knocking them down at an exceptionally high clip. His overall efficiency needs work, as well as his strength and perimeter defense.
What He Does Well
He only shot 40% overall, which would lead you to believe he struggled as a shooter, but Quickley struggled more to finish at the rim than from beyond the arc. His small size made it difficult to absorb contact, something he can certainly improve in an NBA weight room. He had an exceptional Free Throw Attempt rate (.471), which is the amount of free throws attempted per field goal attempted. He aggressively attacked the basket even if he struggled to finish and it was because of his pure shooting at the line. Any player able to shoot over 90% at the line is phenomenal, and Quickley did it on 5.2 attempts per game.
The sophomore guard also shot the three-ball at an impressive clip, 42.8% on 4.8 attempts per night. A projected NBA 3P% of 38.9% is nothing to laugh at for a rookie adjusting to the league. While he may not create a lot of offense for teammates, Quickley has the potential to be a 12-15 point scorer off the bench nightly.
Where He Can Improve
He needs to get in the weight room. He is small and is not a flashy athlete. He needs to improve his strength if he is going to improve on his strength, which is driving to the basket to score or get to the line.
Shooting 40% from the field leaves a lot to be desired. Could he come out of nowhere like Malcolm Brogdon and sneak into the exclusive 50-40-90 club? He has proved he can do the 40-90 at the college level, but improving his finishing at the basket may be all he needs to improve his field goal percentage.
He also doesn’t fill up the box score well beyond scoring. There are not too many guys left in the NBA that thrive as someone who is only on the team to score, and if they are, they do it at an elite level (i.e. Lou Williams). Quickley will need to do more than sit in the corner waiting to shoot. His low assist rate, rebound total and defensive +/- all need to have a slight uptick to have a major impact on the floor as an NBA player.
The Grizzlies and Immanuel Quickley
Scoring is the name of the game in today’s NBA, scoring from behind the arc to be more specific. The Memphis Grizzlies have always struggled to find a bonafide shooter since Mike Miller.
This young team is not looking for a superstar wing player in the second round of the draft, rather it needs a young player to invest in with a specific skill that may help the team right away. Depending on the contract situation of De’Anthony Melton and Josh Jackson, Quickley would be a candidate off the bench to provide shooting right away.
Prediction: Quickley will fall into the late 40’s due to his perceived limited ceiling.