Sixth Man of the Year – Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
Immanuel Quickley was my frontrunner to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award last season which eventually went to the Boston Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon. The two guards were finalists, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks’ Bobby Portis in a fairly stacked pool.
The New York Knicks tasted their first hint of success in over a decade when they won a playoff series for the first time since 2013. That is a concerning drought for one of the league’s supposed premier franchises. The Knicks were propelled to a playoff series win by Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle mostly, however, Quickley was a key member of the team and provided a much-needed spark off the bench in key moments.
There is an argument for Quickley to move to the starting lineup for the Knicks in the 2023-24 season, but he seems to be almost more comfortable starting on the bench. We have seen players like this in the past, most notably Lou Williams, who won three Sixth Man of the Year Awards himself, in his extended career. Maybe Quickley can follow in these footsteps.
Boston will likely have a Sixth Man candidate themselves again this year as Derrick White seems likely to move to the bench with the trade that landed the Celtics Jrue Holiday. The reigning winner will also have a chance to repeat as it is expected that Brogdon will come off the bench for the Portland Trailblazers, at least to start.
One thing is certain, this award always has a deep field to select from, but if Quickley remains healthy and continues to improve as he has his first few seasons in the league, he will surely be a finalist for the second year in a row.