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Knicks' Immanuel Quickley Deals With Early Slump Through 'Amnesia'

The New York Knicks' third-year man has opened the 2022-23 campaign on a cold note from deep.

Since stepping on the University of Kentucky's campus as a freshman, New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley quickly asserted himself as one of the best shooters in the nation.

A near .400 three-point shooter over his two years for the Wildcats, including a sophomore campaign where he drilled two or more threes in 25 games en route to SEC Player of the Year honors, Quickley was named the 25th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, traded to the Knicks shortly after Oklahoma City called his name. 

During his rookie campaign, the guard wasted no time getting accustomed to the NBA range, earning at least 20 points on 11 different occasions. However, the marksman has struggled to find a rhythm in the early stages of his third season, posting shooting splits of .348 overall .283 from three-point range, and .789 from the foul line through Friday's games. 

The decline in his outside shooting has been particularly troubling: Quickley had a .389 success rate from deep in his first season but fell to .346 last year before dipping under the 30 percent mark in the fledgling stages of his junior campaign. Last season started off with a similar cold snap, as Quickley hit only 25 percent of his attempts from deep over his first 10 games (9-of-36, four of them coming in a single game). 

Faced with a similar challenge this season, Quickley is looking to solve his shooting issues on a personal level.

“It always comes back around if you put the work in,” the reserve guard said. “I know I’m going do that.”

“I didn’t even know I was in a shooting funk. Am I? I’ve been having amnesia."

Quickley lost his memory at the perfect time in the Knicks' most recent contest on Friday night: he sank 2-of-3 attempts from deep, the latter serving as the dagger from the side in a 121-112 victory over Detroit at Madison Square Garden, stifling the Pistons' comeback effort with just over 40 seconds to go.

“He’s a shooter so he’s gotta have amnesia,” Knicks guard Derrick Rose said. “He’s probably been hearing that since he was a kid. Put that shot behind you.”

The Knicks' bench contributor appears to have taken the "shooter's shoot" mantra that every deep-ball specialist has heard at some point in their career to heart. That spirit allowed him to end a meandering sophomore campaign on a relatively strong note, downing at least one over the final 11 games of the season (on a .369 success rate). Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau apparently doesn't expect anything different than for Quickley to shoot his way out of a slump, even partially encouraging it in recent statements.  

“He’s a scorer, he’s got a scorer’s mentality," Thibodeau said of Quickley's skills from deep. "If he’s open, I don’t want him hesitating. I want him to let it go.” 

“I think a couple of easy baskets will get him going. “t doesn’t take much. He can get hot real fast.”

To his credit, Quickley has found other ways when his shots aren't falling in the early going: he notably hauled in 16 rebounds during a Nov. 2 loss to Atlanta and also ranks third on the Knicks at 3.1 assists per game (tied for third on the team with RJ Barrett) while sharing the New York lead in steals with Jalen Brunson (1.0).

Quickley and the Knicks are back in action on Sunday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder (12 p.m. ET, MSG). 

You can follow Riley Sheppard on Twitter @RileyDSheppard

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