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With healthy roster, Kevin Knox will have to fight for minutes

Kevin Knox II #20 of the Knicks warms

Kevin Knox II #20 of the Knicks warms up before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on January 24, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.  Credit: Getty Images/Abbie Parr

The Knicks, back to full strength with all players available, now have limited minutes to distribute. So on Monday they officially sent Dennis Smith Jr. and Iggy Brazdeikis to the Westchester Knicks to allow them to participate in the G League bubble later this month.

One player who was left out of the rotation for the first time Sunday and isn’t bound for the bubble is Kevin Knox.

"He just has to keep working," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Obviously, [Sunday] was the first time we had the entire roster available, so right now we’re locked into a 10-man rotation. So he’s situational for now. But that doesn’t mean it won’t change. His shooting is a big part of what we need, so we want him to continue to work. He’s an important part of our team.

" . . . Things can change quickly based on matchups, fouls, injuries, illness, whatever you might have. He would be the next guy in and so, some of it could be matchups, too."

Knox is shooting a strong 39.1% on three-pointers, but in the last six games, he has shot 3-for-18, including 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Quickley getting noticed

After the Clippers beat the Knicks on Sunday, Los Angeles coach Ty Lue noted that he saw rookie Immanuel Quickley take a seat when his own pregame work was done and watch Kawhi Leonard work.

"I’m intrigued on just watching the best players and what they do, their habits," Quickley said of watching Leonard work out. "I ask a lot of questions. I’m just a really curious person. So just watching what he does. [It] wasn’t going to really bother him or nothing, ask him questions, but just seeing how he carries himself, what type of pro he is and just really that. I was just intrigued at seeing the best players at our game and what they do."

The Clippers' Paul George complimented Quickley's ability to shoot the floater in the lane and his fearlessness.

"It’s crazy, honestly," Quickley said. "Another one of the best players in our game, so for him to say that about me, it’s a humbling experience. I appreciate it. But I just want to continue to try to keep getting better, try to help this team get more wins. Appreciate that and best of luck to him."

It wasn’t just players noticing him, though. Quickley was anxious to have the opportunity to meet Lou Williams, one of his idols growing up. The two had a moment during the game, shaking hands and sharing a few kind words.

"Yeah, I just told him he was one of my favorite players," Quickley said. "His game, just as far as how smooth he is, his offensive ability, being able to get to his spots, his floater, drawing fouls. I’ve watched a lot of Synergy and YouTube highlights of him. I was trying not to foul him tonight because I knew he was just going to try to do that sweep through when he was getting in the lane, so I tried as best as I could. But just being a rookie, being able to talk to somebody like that is really cool."

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