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Knicks’ Youth Make Most of Opportunity

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Following the news that Immanuel Quickley has entered health and safety protocols, the Knicks are now missing four regular rotational pieces, as well as Quentin Grimes and Kevin Knox. It’s been an all-hands-on-deck effort for New York over the past week, but there have been some incredible bright spots despite the COVID concerns. The first Knick to enter protocols was Obi Toppin on Saturday night. Since then, he’s been joined by Quickley, Grimes, Knox, and RJ Barrett. Now, Derrick Rose has gone down with an ankle injury and is questionable to return against Boston tomorrow.

Grimes, Knox Step Up

The Knicks started their rookie wing Quentin Grimes on Saturday in place of RJ Barrett. In his first career start, Grimes showed out, setting two Knicks’ rookie records: most threes in a game, and most points in a first start. He had a game-high 27 points on 9-17 shooting including 7-13 from 3 while playing 40 minutes. The next day, he joined Barrett in health and safety protocols.

With Obi Toppin out, Kevin Knox got a chance to get good minutes for the first time this year. He took advantage, knocking down five threes and scoring 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Knox II doesn’t bring much outside of his three-point shot, but he’s improved his trade value if nothing else. On Tuesday against the Warriors, Knox played 20 minutes off the bench but only shot the ball four times. He scored nine points and had seven rebounds.

Knox entered health and safety protocols ahead of Thursday’s game in Houston, but he showed that he can step up and play solid minutes when the Knicks are in need. Both Grimes and Knox will likely continue to be situational, although it’s arguable whether this should be the case. Grimes is the perfect prototypical 3-and-D player, who seemed to fit the starting lineup well on Saturday, though he probably won’t get the chance to play with them again anytime soon.

McBride, Quickley Build Chemistry

Immanuel Quickley is a Knick regular, but he got a chance to play 32 minutes yesterday against Houston, dropping 24 points and knocking down a career-high seven three-pointers. Quickley was in a little bit of a slump, shooting just 33.3% from the field and 19.4% from three in his past six games. Even when he’s not shooting well, Quickley brings energy to the floor, something they’ll miss with him out of the lineup after entering health and safety protocols.

The final Knick to step up and play great basketball was Miles McBride, who got his first chance to play on Tuesday, shooting 3-8 from the field and 2-4 from 3. On Thursday, McBride played the entire second half after Derrick Rose went down with an ankle injury, playing 36 minutes and putting up 15 points and 9 assists.

With both McBride and Quickley on the floor, the Knicks won the 4th quarter by 11 points, as they displayed incredible chemistry for two guys who haven’t played together. Combined with Mitchell Robinson, who had 17 points (8-8 FG) and 9 rebounds, the Knicks pulled away in the 4th to win the game by 13.

Looking Forward

McBride could get the first start of his career on Saturday, especially now that Immanuel Quickley is out. Their only other option would be to bring Kemba Walker back and give him another opportunity. Right now, it seems more likely that the Knicks will start McBride alongside Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Julius Randle, and Nerlens Noel. For a 21-year-old 2nd round pick, McBride looks incredibly polished as a defender, shooter, and facilitator. He’ll get another great opportunity to prove it tomorrow in Boston.


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