The Knicks passed on solving their point-guard issue with their lottery pick — instead taking forward Obi Toppin.
But the Knicks just may have hit the point-guard jackpot with their other first-rounder — Kentucky combo guard Immanuel Quickley, who continues to make the mock drafts look silly.
In his second game after not getting off the bench in the preseason opener, Quickley, selected 25th, showed he just may be able to handle the point-guard role in the NBA.
Quickley’s electricity and joie de vivre spurred the Knicks to a fourth-quarter comeback in Wednesday’s 100-93 victory over the Cavaliers at the fan-less Garden.
His ability to slither through the Cavaliers’ zone defense, setting up his mates, and get to the free-throw line sparked a dead team that was losing the game from the 3-point line. Quickly scored nine points with nine assists in 24 minutes.
“I thought Quick was terrific — ball pressure, the fact that he can shoot the way he can, it opens up the floor,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.
His 3 of 11 shooting ledger didn’t tell the tale of his effectiveness. Normally a solid 3-point shooter, he was 1 of 6 from beyond the arc but teams have to respect him, unlike, say, starting point guard Elfrid Payton.
The bigger story was how Quickley fearlessly runs the offense that flowed majestically during that 34-13 fourth quarter.
“I’ve been a point guard all my life. I feel I’m versatile playing off the ball, on the ball,” Quickley said. “I feel like, coming in, I was trying to tell all the NBA teams that I’m somebody who just happened to play off the ball at Kentucky that one year, my sophomore year. I can really do both. And I’m glad the Knicks picked me. I’m glad to be here. The fans are great. So I just feel like I can really do both.’’
In most mock drafts, Quickley was positioned as a mid-to-late second-round pick despite being named SEC Player of the Year. The Knicks have that Kentucky pipeline going with their two executives, Leon Rose and William Wesley, former agents of John Calipari.
Plus, new assistant Kenny Payne was Calipari’s right-hand man and lobbied for Quickley’s selection. Maybe that extra intel is going to pay off.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still is out with an illness and hasn’t made his debut, which could put his chances of making the team in jeopardy . … Omari Spellman made his debut when Mitchell Robinson got in early foul trouble. He bricked two outside shots. … Frank Ntilikina (Achilles), Nerlens Noel (knee soreness) and Alec Burks missed Wednesday’s game. Reggie Bullock started for Burks at small forward and struggled with his 3-point shot (1 of 6). … Austin Rivers (pulled groin) will miss all four preseason games.
Toppin was pegged in most mock drafts to head to Cleveland at No. 5, but the Cavaliers took Isaac Okoro, a defensive wing who has scored in double figures in each of their three games.
“It went all the way up to draft night,’’ Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “It was back and forth. It was a debate. We decided on the need he filled on the defensive end of the floor.”