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2020 NBA Draft Coverage: Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky

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Lights-out shooter with defensive upside

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

After an underwhelming freshman season, Immanuel Quickley exploded as a sophomore at Kentucky and was voted the 2019-20 SEC Player of the Year. His college coach, John Calipari, compared him to former Kentucky standouts like Jamal Murray, Tyler Herro, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Calipari said this about the future NBA player:

“[Quickley] absolutely works his tail off. He takes his conditioning seriously, has unbelievable discipline, unwavering faith, confidence and spent just about all of his extra time in that gym.”

That’s high praise from one of the great college basketball coaches of our time.

Stats

Per game: 16.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.1 blocks, 1.6 turnovers, 42/43/92 shooting splits

Advanced: 59.5% True Shooting, 7.2 box plus-minus (5.3 offensive, 2 defensive), .192 win shares per 40

Physical: 21 years old, 6’3” with a 6’8.25” wingspan, 188 pounds

Strengths

Immanuel Quickley’s most translatable NBA skill is his shooting, particularly from 3-point range (42.8%) and from the charity stripe (92.3%). At Kentucky, he was effective as both a spot-up shooter (84th percentile per Synergy) and as a movement shooter.

The Kentucky product shot the absolute lights out during the NBA Combine shooting drills:

Quickley was the only prospect to finish in the top 8 in every single shooting drill at the NBA combine.

Quickley is capable of punishing closeouts with an effective one-dribble stepback from deep, as well as an efficient floater that accounted for roughly 25% of his field goal attempts in the half court (81st percentile on floaters, per Synergy).

Quickley has a good feel for off-ball movement on offense, moving and repositioning himself into open shooting areas when defenders turn their back on him and giving the ball handler a cleaner angle for the pass.

Despite shooting primarily jump shots and floaters, Quickley has a knack for drawing fouls at a high rate. His free throw rate of .471 is stellar, and he found himself shooting 5.2 freebies per game.

Defensively, Quickley grades out well as a prospect. Overall, he held opponents to 0.7 points per possession (85th percentile), and was extremely effective as a PnR defender (0.58 PPP, 80th percentile). He was also an effective defender in isolation situations, allowing just 0.48 points per possession (84th percentile).

Weaknesses

Despite all his shooting prowess and effective touch on floaters, Quickley is a poor finisher at the rim, where he posted a meager 0.9 points per possession (21st percentile). He’s not particularly explosive or aggressive in traffic, and as a result his shots near the rim are often blocked or heavily altered. Developing euro-step finishes and other counters to frustrate the timing of defenders could definitely help him here, as he is more of a finesse player than an above-the-rim finisher.

While Quickley is an efficient offensive player overall, his playmaking and passing leave much to be desired. With a poor assist-to-turnover ratio and low assist numbers overall, it’s unlikely he’ll make many plays for teammates at the next level. He doesn’t see the floor well and looks to score first out of most actions - often times forcing bad shots rather than making the simple kick-out pass.

Although he’s a solid defender at the point of attack, Quickley has a tendency to fall asleep and lose track of his man when defending off-ball action. He’s prone to losing focus and getting caught ball-watching, allowing his assignment to sneak by for backdoor cuts or sliding into open space for an open look from deep. Proper coaching and development in this area will be absolutely crucial for his success in the NBA.

Jazz Fit

Elite 3-point shooting.

Quick trigger from deep.

Good defensive tools.

Length.

The Utah Jazz could definitely use someone who checks all these boxes.

Player comps

Evan Fournier, Gary Harris, thinner Wesley Matthews

Draft projection

Most mock drafts project Quickley as an early- to mid-2nd round pick, but if he continues his impressive combine performance, he could sneak into the 1st round. Either way, he’s someone to keep an eye on and could be worth trading into the 2nd round (Utah does not currently have a 2nd round pick in this draft), or even taking him at #23 depending on how his draft projection changes over the coming days.