Basketball

Quentin Grimes Should Start for the Knicks

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The New York Knicks selected Quentin Grimes, a shooting guard out of Houston, with the 25th overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft. It took him until the second half of the season to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation, but he flourished in his role once he did. Last year, Grimes averaged 6.1 PPG while shooting 38.1% from three in the 45 games he played. He’s been one of the best players in the Las Vegas Summer League this offseason and is the perfect fit as the starting shooting guard for the 2022-23 Knicks.

2022 Summer League

Through three games in the NBA Summer League, Grimes has averaged 24 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG while shooting 46.2% from the field and 33.3% from behind the arc. Despite his inconsistent shooting, Grimes is clearly a step ahead of the competition. Grimes is a 3-and-D player at his core, but he has shown much more than that in the Summer League. He had eight assists in the Summer League opener against Golden State and showed off some fluid pull-up jumpers against Portland.

Grimes has posted exactly 24 points in each of the three Summer League games but he has shot better from the field each game. In his third game, he shot 9/17 from the field and 3/10 from three. Grimes has shown glimpses of his college self, who averaged 17.8 PPG and led the Houston Cougars to the 2021 NCAA Final Four. He won’t play that role with the big club, but he excels in the skills that the Knicks desperately need in their starting lineup.

The Fit

Quentin Grimes is the perfect shooting guard to play alongside the new Knicks core of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Jalen Brunson. Reports have stated that there are concerns within the Knicks organization about the backcourt of Brunson and Evan Fournier on the defensive end. Starting Quentin Grimes at the 2 would fix that potential problem. Although he is a few inches shorter than Fournier, Grimes provides more on the defense with his on-ball skills and lateral quickness. Last season, Grimes had a 0.9 DBPM and 111 DRtg while Fournier had a -0.3 DBPM and 113 DRtg.

Offensively, Fournier definitely brings more to the table than Grimes does. He started 80 games last year and averaged 14.1 points per game while shooting 38.9% from three. He even set the Knicks franchise record by hitting 241 three-pointers. He’s not just a great three-point shooter, though. Fournier can also attack the basket and can play with the ball in his hands from time to time. As a lead option in Orlando, Fournier averaged 16.6 PPG on 45.2/37.4/82.5 shooting splits from 2015-16 to 2019-20 before putting up the best numbers of his career (19.7 PPG, 38.8% 3P%) prior to being traded to Boston in 2020-21. Fournier would flourish as a sixth man, especially in a second unit that features Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin. Fournier would be able to play a role similar to the one he did in Orlando, shooting a high volume of jump shots while having the ball in his hands a lot.

Last season, Fournier was used primarily as a floor spacer and three-point threat, rather than a secondary scoring option. Grimes could fit the former role perfectly. He shot 38.1% from three last year while taking a high volume of three-point shots. He attempted 4.1 threes per game, 8.7 threes per 36 minutes, and 12.0 threes per 100 possessions. He’s not quite as great of a three-point threat as Fournier, but he would serve the same purpose as a vital floor spacer alongside Barrett and Randle who both do the bulk of their damage near the rim. Adding Jalen Brunson only further emphasizes the need for a floor-spacing two-guard, as he also relies on a high frequency of drives to the basket. Grimes is the perfect fit in the Knicks’ new starting lineup, and starting him would also allow for Evan Fournier to flourish in the perfect role.

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