Knicks rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley will not start Wednesday night in the season opener against the Pacers – but Mitchell Robinson will
Quickley, who became a revelation of the preseason and started on point guard in the preseason final, was set to get off the bench as head coach Tom Thibodeau is stuck with veteran point guard Elfrid Payton.
Thibodeau said Quickley would still be in his 10-man rotation, indicating he could finish the game. The former Kentucky stud added electricity and shooting from the outside, the latter a major weakness at Paytons.
“I think it’s a collection of things,” Thibodeau said when asked why Payton would start. “It’s how things have gone in practice, the games, how the groups play with each other. And starting has never been as important as finishing for me. We will look at the different combinations, the guys who play well are doing well, they will be the guys who are out there.
“We have young guys who will continue to improve. We have the right veterans around them who can help teach the young guys the tricks of the industry. So we trust everyone. ”
The only other minor surprise with his other starters was Reggie Bullock, who got the call over Alec Burks by shooting guard. Burks missed the last two games for personal reasons when his wife gave birth.
Thibodeau says Bullock is giving the club a little more 3-point shooting in the beginning, but the coaching staff has fallen for the Burks, their best signing of a free agent.
“I like both guys and they both have strengths that compliment each group,” Thibodeau said. “And I’m not sure yet if we will return. But both guys are very effective with starters and both guys are very effective with the bench. Both have a strong defensive presence. I think Alec is very good outside of dribbling and has playmaking options. So I think it’s a good addition to that group. But we are still sorting through it. Of course, Reggie gives us the added shooting we need to open the floor and the amazing defense. ”
Robinson excelled in starting the last two preseason games over Nerlens Noel, who was plagued by a knee injury. Robinson came in strong and did not record a foul in the preseason final.