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All eyes on Quentin Grimes

The third-year guard will have to compete against opponents on the court—and against teammates for playing time.

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

According to some, the Knick with the most to prove next season is Quentin Grimes. This week, he was snapped training with NBA shooting legend J.J. Redick.

With the acquisitions of Josh Hart in February and, more recently, Donte DiVincenzo, plus Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks are loaded with mid-sized shooting guards. (The recent waiving of Trevor Keels did nothing to reduce the logjam.) In the upcoming campaign, Grimes will have to compete not just opponents, but also his own teammates for playing time.

Healthy competition should be great for his growth as a player.

Last year, entering his sophomore season, Grimes was promptly inserted into the starting two-guard slot, dislodging veteran Evan Fournier. The 23-year-old out of Houston remained a starter all season (barring a couple playoff games we won’t discuss) and averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 boards, and 2.1 dimes. He proved reliable beyond the arc, too, sinking 39% from 3-point range.

Grimes showcased his talents as a three-and-D player, too, often tasked by Coach Thibodeau to guard the opponent’s best player.

Before joining the NBA, Grimes got reps at point guard. Last season, we saw more examples of his playmaking skills. His fast feet allowed him to zip past players to penetrate the paint for an easy score or a smart dish. He took 25% of his shots within 0-3 feet last season, compared to only 9% the previous year.

Selected 25th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, Grimes showed the league that he had been an underrated talent. When New York traded for Josh Hart in February 2023, however, Grimes saw an expected reduction in playing time. After Hart’s arrival, Grimes dropped from about 31 minutes per game to about 28 for the rest of the regular season.

Minutes distribution might be vexing for Thibs this season, and Grimes could suffer because of it.

DiVincenzo profiles similarly to Grimes. Both can shoot the long ball (40% last season), fight through screens, terrorize passing lanes, and generally apply tenacious D. Like Hart, DiVincenzo is expected to play with the reserve squad, but Thibs is unafraid of sitting starters down the stretch in close games. And if Immanuel Quickley, who also plays great defense, is on fire in a game, Thibs will have a tough fourth-quarter choice to make between his available acronyms, QG, IQ, and DDV.

Last summer, Grimes withstood trade rumors involving Donovan Mitchell. The team stuck with him, realizing his potential. Now smoke is swirling around Mitchell again. It’s possible that this time around, the Knicks’ brass feel their roster is more flush and reconsider dealing Grimes in a package for Spida. (Possible—but please join me in praying against it.)

It would make sense for the Cavaliers to be interested in the third-year guard. The stud who tore up last year’s summer league has been selected join Team USA as it prepares for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. He will have the opportunity to train with the main roster and play on the U.S. Select Team in scrimmages against the main squad during the FIBA training camp in August.

We’ll see soon if J.J. Redick’s shooting touch has rubbed off on him.

Looking ahead to the 2023-24 season, Grimes must embrace tenacity and an underdog mentality to fully thrive. Having solid players vying for his minutes will keep Quentin’s feet to the fire. Clearly, the Knicks still have an affinity for him, and the former 25th pick will play a pivotal role in the team’s future success. It’s not unreasonable to think that as Grimes goes, so goes the team.