Leagues

Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley never worried about mock drafts

Immanuel Quickley was predicted to be a second-round pick — not even an early second-round pick.

ESPN’s mock-draft kingpin, Jonathon Givony pegged Quickley at 45. Matt Babcock, former agent now in the mock-draft business, put the Kentucky combo guard at 53. NBA Draftroom plugged him in at 48, The Athletic at 42.

The Ringer was kindest, rating Quickley at 39 with the comment: “An elite shooter with a high basketball IQ, but lacks real passing skills for a guard his size.’’

As it happened, the Kentucky Knicks selected Quickley at 25. The Post reported new assistant Kenny Payne, who coached Quickley at Kentucky, lobbied hard for him and convinced Knicks GM Scott Perry who originally did not have him as high on his board, to select him.

Quickley is used to the slights, especially after a uneven freshman year at Kentucky, when fans called for him to transfer.

On a Zoom call Thursday, Quickley was asked how he felt about the mock drafts not regarding him as a first-round selection.

“A lot of people around me were telling me not to worry about mock drafts, they’re just mock drafts,’’ Quickley said. “A lot of people don’t understand really the pre-draft and what teams are looking at. Mock drafts are just what they think and what they go on from the season. My team and myself knew what I had done during the season. We knew how hard I’d worked, we knew how I did in workouts, interviews. I felt pretty comfortable going into the draft.”

Indeed, Quickley found a perfect spot with the Knicks — aka “The Orange and Bluegrass.”

Quickley is one of five Kentucky players on the roster. Team president Leon Rose and senior vice president William Wesley were tight with John Calipari’s Kentucky basketball factory as agents.

To date, Payne hasn’t gotten his claws on Quickley during this five-day, individual-workout format due to COVID-19 protocols.

Instead, Johnnie Bryant, their other esteemed player-developmental coach, is taking on Quickley.

It’s a good change of pace, but also a factor of Bryant being the guards coach and Payne being the big-man coach.

“I really haven’t got to work hands-on yet basketball-wise honestly [with Payne],’’ Quickley said. “I’ve been more with coach Johnnie Bryant and coach Scott [King, a team video coordinator]. Coach Payne, he’s pushing Obi [Toppin] now. He has him running just like at Kentucky. He’s going to push you to be great, outside your comfort zone. But I’m excited to get started working with him. I think I can work him next week.’’

The fear he’s not a true point guard (1.9 assists in his two Kentucky seasons) and is an undersized shooting guard were factors in predictions of him as a second-rounder.

However, he has a knack for tossing alley-oops and said he’s learned Knicks tendencies by playing video games. He could form a nice dunk connection with high flyers Mitchell Robinson and Toppin.

“I’ve actually got to play 2K and use the Knicks a couple times,’’ Quickley said. “So I’m already familiar with a lot of my teammates, been able to throw a couple of lobs to those guys.”

The Knicks will announce a full schedule Friday. A source confirmed the opener will be at the Pacers on Dec. 23.

As bad as the pandemic has been, Reggie Bullock was gifted two sweet additions in November as his girlfriend gave birth to twin sons, named Heart and Soul. Bullock missed the Knicks’ OTAs in September because he wanted to be safe with twins on the way.

“I actually came up here and got some work in before they started OTAs,’’ Bullock said. “I let the organization knew what I had coming. It was a great addition to my family. I felt it humbled me knowing I have to fight for my kids and play hard for my kids and take care of the next generation. That’s a new task I have. I pull out my notepad and I’m up and ready for it. I’m blessed to have those two little ones.”

Bullock added he feels lighter and more confident now that he’s 17 months removed from neck surgery.

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