The Knicks point guard position right now isn’t great. They’ve been starting Elfrid Payton and the results have been pretty bad with the offense as a whole ranking in the bottom five across the entire league. That said, they have seen some positive momentum in their offense out of rookie guard Immanuel Quickley. He’s yet to start a game this season, but he’s a good scorer and provides a spark of energy with his shooting and creativity that Payton lacks.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau’s hesitancy to give Quickley more minutes has started to lead to questions from New York fans and media. He has historically not been a coach that was keen on handing the reigns over to rookies and has traditionally opted for a more veteran presence. Thibodeau was asked about this history of his and he shot back saying that a former point guard of his, Derrick Rose, was the youngest player to ever win MVP. In other words, he doesn’t consider it a problem.
Tom Thibodeau on the notion that he's reluctant to play young players:
"If you actually studied who was on each team, you would see Derrick Rose was the youngest MVP in the history of the league. I don't worry about any of that stuff" pic.twitter.com/YdGcyLfKMK
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) February 7, 2021
It’s funny that Thibodeau brought up Rose because not long after he made this statement it was reported that the Knicks had agreed to a trade to bring Rose in from Detroit in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. They even gave up a pick to do it. This seems like a surefire sign that Rose is coming in to become the starting point guard over Payton, and if the current rotation stays to form, then Quickley is likely going to lose minutes in favor of Payton, as well.
Thibodeau can claim that he gives young players their shot when they earn it, but the evidence of his career states otherwise. He is someone that prefers to bring in his own guys. When he had executive power in Minnesota he brought in Rose and Taj Gibson because he knows they fit the culture of basketball he desires. He may not have executive power in New York, but so far the Knicks have brought in Gibson and now Rose, likely because they fit the culture of basketball he wants in New York.
Basketball fans everywhere should be hoping that Quickley continues to get minutes and Thibs uses this as an opportunity to reduce Payton’s time on the floor instead. Quickley is fun and has proven he is worth the time and effort to take his lumps on the floor. It has rarely been Thibodeau’s style to provide that opportunity to work through those young mistakes, and so you’ll forgive Knicks fans for being skeptical given his best example is a decade-old MVP won by the guy he just brought in to take Quickley’s minutes.