You haven’t been impressed by what Quentin Grimes has done in the last two games. It wasn’t just his shot-making or his defense or his play-making or his ball-moving.
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It was everything.
It was a glimpse into why the Knicks and coach Tom Thibodeau are so high on him. That’s what everyone saw during the Las Vegas Summer League, when the second-year guard was so dominant across the board, showing he was much more than just a spot-up shooter.
With Cam Reddish and Derrick Rose missing the last two games of a recent five-game road trip due to injury, the Knicks finally fired Grimes, and he produced on both ends of the floor. He had 10 points, eight assists and five rebounds in a loss to the Suns, and had eight points, five rebounds and two steals in a win over the Thunder. He started and played at least 32 minutes in each contest.
Eight days after allowing Oklahoma City to put up 145 points at the Garden, the Knicks held the Thunder in check. Grimes was a factor – the Knicks shut out the Thunder by nine points while he was on the floor – helping star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put in a disabled 9-of-22 shooting performance.
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It was a long time for the 6-foot-4 Grimes, who missed almost the entire preseason due to sore left foot and continued to serve as the footman for much of the first month of the season. Finally healthy and able to log major minutes, Grimes produced, and he could solidify himself as the starting shooting guard (even after Cam Reddish suffered a groin injury). . Grimes might have had the opening night job if not for the foot injury.
My favorite thing about how Grimes performed on the offensive end was his quick decisions. He doesn’t dribble much, preferring to act quickly, be it swinging the ball, attacking or finding his shot.
Check out this determined drive for a layup against the Thunder after taking a pass outside the 3-point arc:
Or this drive and dish for Isaiah Hartenstein from the Suns game:
When the Knicks have struggled on the offensive end, it has often been the result of the offense being stagnant and resorting to playing too much isolation. Jalen Brunson has improved his flow, and Grimes will join in. Thibodeau likes to say: The game tells you what to do. Grimes seems to be playing just that line in mind. He often makes the right plays.
Defensively, the 22-year-old Texan doesn’t have great size for a wing, but he’s physical, quick and smart. He has active hands, can stay in front of his man — a major bonus for the Knicks, who have struggled to defend the perimeter — and does his best to challenge every shot.
He competes. Grimes just feels like a Thibodeau type of player.
Now, look, this is obviously a small sample size. Grimes needs to stay healthy. He has to keep on performing. It’s still very unproven. Who knows where it goes from here? But during off-season trade talks with the Jazz regarding Donovan Mitchell, the Knicks didn’t want to lose Grimes because they saw potential in him. A glimpse of this has been seen in the last two matches.
When you consider the level of competition, through about a quarter of the season, the Knicks have fared better on the road than at home. They have road wins over the Timberwolves, 76ers (albeit without James Harden and Joel Embiid), Jazz, Nuggets, and Thunder. They played the Grizzlies and Cavaliers very hard.
Now they need to perform better against strong opponents at the domestic level. The Knicks are 4-3 at the Garden, but those four wins have come against the Pistons (twice), the Magic and the extremely shorthanded Hornets, who are a combined 15-42. They weren’t really in the game at the end of the fourth quarter of their three losses against the Celtics, Thunder and Hawks, and this despite blowing huge first half leads against the latter two. Their defense was particularly poor in those losses, allowing an average of 130 points and a combined 48.3 percent 3-point shooting.
The upcoming slate will give the Knicks an opportunity to start building home-court advantage, and to do so they will need to beat predicted playoff teams. The Trail Blazers and Grizzlies stop by this weekend, the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo arrive on Wednesday, and the Mavericks and Cavaliers make up a tough back-to-back week before Saturday, with the Hawks and Trey Young returning three days later. We do.
This is not a new problem. The Knicks were 17-24 in the Garden last year. Only three teams in the Eastern Conference – the Pistons, Pacers and Magic – won at home less often.
Westchester native and One-and-Duke wing AJ Griffin was linked to the Knicks in the lead-up to June’s NBA Draft. Many experts projected Griffin to the Knicks with the 11th overall selection.
But team president Leon Rose never made the selection, instead trading the pick to the Thunder for three future first-round selections. The Knicks acquired the No. 13 pick in exchange for five future draft picks and dealt Kemba Walker to the Pistons in order to reduce his $9.2 million salary.
Griffin is off to a good start with the Hawks, who took him with the No. 16 pick. With De’Andre Hunter out of the lineup earlier this week, Griffin played over 30 minutes in back-to-back games, including 17 points in each. game winning layout In an overtime win over the Raptors on Saturday. He returned off the bench on Wednesday night and scored 12 points in 24 minutes. Most notable, Griffin is shooting 39.1 percent from deep. The Knicks are next-to-last in the league in 3-point shooting percentage at 31.6 percent, barely ahead of the Lakers (30.6).
Now, it should be noted that by trading up from the first round, the Knicks were able to clear up enough salary-cap space to land Jalen Brunson, who has been a home run signing, and they have made future draft assets possible. added what could have been used to land an iconic superstar on the road.
The 19-year-old Griffin was well away from a home run. Scouts told The Post prior to the draft that teams were concerned about his injury history, the limited athleticism Duke had shown and his lack of consistency. But he has been productive for the 11-7 Hawks, averaging 8.6 points in 16.9 minutes, and has outplayed wings like Ochai Agbaji and Johnny Davis, who were selected before him.