Quentin Grimes had a lovely summer in 2022.
He dominated at Summer League, averaging 22.6 points in five games. And he escaped the Donovan Mitchell trade-a-palooza unscathed. The Tik Tok star (if having almost 150,000 followers qualifies someone as such) and 25th pick of the 2021 draft had distinguished himself as a player the New York Knicks were committed to developing.
A sore left foot sidelined Grimes for the first six games of the most recent campaign. In his absence, Evan Fournier started the first seven contests as the lead shooting guard. After the Knicks recorded their third consecutive loss (a stinker against the Atlanta Hawks), coach Tom Thibodeau recognized the need for change.
Thibs sent Fournier to the bench and Grimes to the starting line-up. The move surprised few, because anyone following the Knicks knew that Grimes would supplant Fournier eventually. It was only a matter of time.
Quentin’s first big game of the year came on November 29, 2022. In a 140-110 dismantling of the Detroit Pistons, QDot scored 16 points in 28 minutes:
Quentin Grimes had his best offensive game of the season tonight:— Teg (@IQfor3) November 30, 2022
+37 (team high)
Looks like he got his shot back, excited to see how he plays going forward. pic.twitter.com/WbGKJ8NMHf
Throughout the year, Thibs almost never called offensive plays for the young gun, who had to make his bones as a spot-up shooter. Meanwhile, the threat of his long-range ability (Quentin is a career 38% shooter from downtown) spread the floor for Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett to do their collective thing. Overall, Grimes averaged 11.3 points, three boards, and two dimes—numbers that are all likely to increase next season.
Before joining the Association, the 2017-18 McDonald’s All-American showed competency as a playmaker. With New York this season, he handled the ball well when necessary—and created some juicy points for himself when feeling ornery.
On defense is where he most distinguished himself, however. Often, Grimes took the role of on-ball stopper and proved he could defend against the one-through-four positions. With a defensive rating of 117.3, he was usually glued to the opponent’s best player.
Against the Dallas Mavericks on December 27, 2022, he was a blazing 7-of-16 from deep and logged 33 points. He played 48 minutes in that overtime loss. The rub: for much of the game, he was stuck on Luka Dončić, who finished with a career-high (and franchise record) 60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals. Despite those garish stats, Grimes passed the eyeball test for playing pretty good defense on Luka that night. Cuban’s Cyborg was just unbeatable. He brought Dallas back from a nine-point deficit with 33 seconds left and guaranteed overtime with an intentionally missed free throw that he—damn, it still hurts to think about that game.
Although Grimes began the year with an injury, Quentin proved to be relatively durable. He played 65 of the last 66 games of the season, averaging 32 minutes per game over that stretch.
Another highlight? Check out the April 5, 2023 game against the Indiana Pacers. Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle were both inactive, so QDot seized his opportunity to get buckets. He set a new career-high of 36 points while shooting 14-of-23 from the floor and 5-of-13 from deep.
Quentin Grimes tonight:— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 6, 2023
36 PTS (career-high)
5 STL (!!)
First Knick to reach those numbers since Stephon Marbury in 2007. pic.twitter.com/Q17PoLyo1E
Around that time, he had a long profile appear in Uproxx’s Dime Magazine. Swanky!
April brought the NBA Playoffs. Knicks fans had tentative hopes. We doubted our heroes could defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Round 1, but they did! We were sure that New York would mop the floor with the Miami Heat . . . and they did not.
The postseason was a mixed bag for Grimes. In nine playoff games, he shot a measly 30% from the field and a barfy 24% from three (on four attempts per). Overall, he averaged 5.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. No muy bueno.
In postseason play, injury caught up with Grimes again. A contused shoulder kept him out of Games 4 and 5 against the Cavs. Although he was available to play in Game 1 of the second round series against the Miami Heat, Thibs elected to bring him off the bench. The coach seemed to hope that Josh Hart’s defense would benefit the starting line-up. Instead, the Knicks starters lacked floor spacing and dropped two of the first three games.
Thibs reinserted Grimes into the starting line-up from Game 4 onward.
Quentin spent much of that Miami series chasing Jimmy Butler around and did a respectable job. As reported in the NY Post before Game 6, “In 94 possessions against Butler coming into Friday, Grimes had held him to just 16 points on 29.4 percent shooting and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.”
Who could forget this effort from Grimes? If history is just, this will be remembered as one of the greatest Knick moments:
Quentin Grimes is a DAWG pic.twitter.com/jjIR5Ia8hx— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) May 11, 2023
Unfortunately, Jimmy cooked the Knicks in Game 6 and ended an otherwise positive season. Could Quentin have done more? Sure. As observed by Hoopshabit.com, “Grimes was one of the Knicks’ best three-point shooters during the regular season. He held the 4th best team three-point field goal percentage and made the second-most shots from behind the arc. By comparison, he only shot at a 24.3% clip from range in the playoffs.”
In summary: not a terrible first postseason for the sophomore, with plenty to learn and grow from.
What will next season bring for Quentin Grimes?
First, let’s see if he survives another trade season this summer.
Any team looking to deal a star to the Knicks will likely want Grimes included in the return package. He’s a steal, salary-wise, because he will earn $2.4M in 2023-24, and $4.3M the next year. His defensive acumen is battle-tested, and his true shooting percentage of 62% rated in the 80th percentile. On New York’s list of most desirable assets, he ranks near the top.
Considering Quentin’s work ethic and age, he is bound to improve upon his stats next season. Here’s hoping he will do so as a Knick.