Immanuel Quickley and his fellow backups saved the Knicks in a 94-85 win over the Pistons last night.
- New York’s majority-starter lineups: -25 in 22 minutes
- New York’s all-reserve lineup: +36 in 22 minutes
But Quickley – whose 18 points were second only to Alec Burks‘ 34 – didn’t get the respect he deserved. His jersey had “QUCIKLEY” on the back.
Quickley, isn’t one of these unknown newcomers, either. He was a first-round pick who made the All-Rookie second team last season.
Still, it’s worth remembering what teams are facing right now, as this example from Sacramento illustrates.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
Both Kings equipment managers caught COVID and couldn’t work. Yes, Sacramento lost players and coaches, scouts and video coordinators and an assistant PR director, but creative efforts can help fill gaps. Equipment managers are something else — the essentialist of essential NBA employees. The Kings were so desperate that they considered borrowing an equipment manager from nearby UC Davis, but decided against bringing outsiders into a COVID outbreak.
Meanwhile, assistant GM Wes Wilcox tried to patchwork the operations at the team’s facility. And, well, who was left in the building? That’s the question that Wilcox asked himself. His eyes stopped on Kwa Jones, an intern in the video room. He was a student-manager at the University of Houston. “And managers do everything,” Wilcox said. Still, he needed more help. Wilcox kept looking and settled on Khyri Marshall, a game-night attendant.
Jones and Marshall had the Kings equipment managers talking them through every detail of every duty. How do you clean the uniforms? What do you pack for Golden State? How do you pack? The Kings signed a replacement player and needed a name ironed onto the back of a uniform. “I have no idea how we got those names on the uniforms, but we did,” Wilcox told ESPN.
One afternoon, Wilcox walked into the equipment room to check on things. “It was a mess — a beautiful mess — and I just spun around and left,” Wilcox said with a laugh. It was indicative of the moment, of the situation they were in and trying to work themselves out of. The front office was grateful for how these twenty-somethings were finding a way, and even more grateful a short-handed Kings team won two of three home games amid the chaos.