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See it to believe it: Quentin Grimes made a free throw!

It took QG more than 16 games. Can’t complain!

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New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images

Quentin Grimes made history by scoring his first two free throws of the 2023-24 season against the Toronto Raptors north of the border on Friday, in a game the Knicks ended up winning 119-106.

No joke.

Ask Fred Katz of The Athletic about it, and he’ll tell you that Grimes was the slowest player to finally score a freebie among those with as many minutes as he’d logged by the time he did it.

“Grimes has yet to make a free throw this season,” Katz wrote before Friday’s game. “He’s taken only one. In 14 games. In 337 minutes. He’s the only player in the NBA who has played this much but hasn’t attempted his second freebie of the season.”

Grimes first attempted a free throw against the Boston Celtics in the season opener, more than a month ago back on Oct. 25. It was the Knicks' 23rd free-throw attempt of the season as a team.

After that one, crickets.

New York went on to play a gazillion games for a full month. They visited the charity stripe more often than not. They entered Friday’s game having hoisted 428 free-throw attempts. The balance: Grimes 1, Non-Grimes 427.

Until Toronto fixed QG.

Grimes attempted—and converted, which is impressive for someone who was shooting zero percent from the stripe, sample size be damned—the 437th and 438th free throws of the Knicks' 2023-24 season.

See it to believe it.

There you have it, folks.

Now, seriously, Grimes has had a rather ugly start to the year in terms of shooting, putting up splits in the 36/35/66 ballpark. That’s mediocre at best, G League-like at worst for a nightly starter.

Grimes has yet to play off the pine. He’s a staple on Tom Thibodeau’s starting lineups and that’s probably not going to change any time soon. Grimes has appeared in 17 of 19 games (missed two with an injury), all of them started, and he’s getting a solid 23 MPG.

Among players with 15+ games started this season shooting at Grimes’ split-levels (or better), QG is the seventh-worst performer in Win Shares out of 67 qualified players. He’s only above Cade Cunningham, Jeremy Sochan, Gordon Hayward, Klay Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, and Kyle Kuzma, and he’s tied with Coby White at 0.5 WS.

Grimes should bounce back a bit in time, mind you, as he is coming off a sophomore season in which he shot 47/38/64 attempting more shots (8.5 FGA to 6.0 this season), more threes (5.7 to 4.9), and more free throws (1.4 to 0.2).

The shooting has been awful, but the more concerning development is that Grimes is struggling a bit across the board.

Among the group of players linked above, Grimes is averaging the fewest rebounds per game, is tied for the fourth-fewest assists per game, has yet to block a shot, and has only been used as the main assignment on defense to whoever comes to town carrying the “best perimeter guy” label.

Grimes, however, ranks just 31st in DRtg (114) among the aforementioned 67 players, and his ORtg (108) is tied for eighth-worst. He boasts the worst OBPM (-3.6) and it’s not even close to the second-worst Dillon Brook’s mark. He has a reasonably good DBPM (1.0) but he’s only 17th on that front. He’s also dead-last in John Hollinger’s favorite stat PER (6.3) again a good chunk behind second-worst Isaiah Stewart’s figure.

I love Grimes' defensive chops, point-of-attack prowess, and constant effort—and so might the Knicks judging by their front office’s actions. Will Thibodeau keep riding the collective hot hand or flip Grimes for Josh Hart or Donte DiVincenzo as the fifth member of his starting lineups?

Only time will tell, but just in case, Thibs made his season-saving change last year on Dec. 4 when he decided to bench Evan Fournier forever and cut his rotation to nine men.

The Knicks play won’t play until next Tuesday, Dec. 5. Will there be a lineup change between now and then?