With training camps open across the National Basketball Association, the New York Knicks back at the Training Facility in Westchester. But there’s a different feel in the air in New York. Knicks fans are optimistic after New York put together a season in which they finished as the four seed in the Eastern Conference. Of course, Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks handedly eliminated the Knicks in five games. The two men that led New York, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, disappeared in the spotlight. But, Knicks fans should turn the page to the upcoming campaign with their heads up high and full of high hopes.
The Knicks began to retool and build off their magical 2020-21 season during the draft. After a night full of moves and trades, New York finished up with Houston’s Quentin Grimes, West Virginia’s Miles McBride, Lithuania’s Rokas Jokubaitis and Texas’ Jericho Sims as the next group of young men to make a move to Manhattan.
Jokubaitis will return to FC Barcelona in Spain this season and will continue to develop in Europe, essentially making this a three-man draft class for the Knicks.
All the way-too-early indicators point to McBride and Sims suiting up at the Westchester County Center and playing a chunk of their games in the G-League. Grimes might be the only rookie who would have a chance to don “NEW YORK” across his chest this season.
But how much playing time will Grimes get?
Grimes is a six-foot-five guard weighing in at 205 lbs. Tape says Grimes is a 3&D type of player. He has a great ability to shoot the ball and has the potential to lock down the other team’s top scorer. A team that is led by Tom Thibodeau, showed that staple New York defense and finished among the bottom in three points attempted, this is a perfect fit for Grimes.
But this isn’t the Knicks of a few years ago where rookie players could be able to crack the rotation right out of school. There is a ton of competition at the guard position this season.
For starters, the Knicks upgraded at starting guard with the subtraction of Elfrid Payton and the addition of Bronx native Kemba Walker. Alec Burks, who played a key role all season for the Knicks in 2020-21, returns to New York.
The Knicks were also able to re-sign Derrick Rose, a man who is surely the first guard off the bench after finding success in that role last season for New York. Of course, Immanuel Quickley is slated to return after a successful rookie campaign. Lastly, Argentine Luca Vildoza signed in early May as he tries to make the move from Europe to the NBA
Maybe the Knicks will try to put him on the wing. But remember that RJ Barrett already has the starting role there and they signed a wing this offseason in Evan Fournier.
Grimes is going to have to impress Thibodeau and the Knicks coaching staff over the next few weeks before the season starts. Grimes, like any rookie, does have a few areas where he needs to improve. He isn’t the best when he puts the ball on the floor and isn’t too good in the mid-range game. His floaters and pull-up jumpers inside the arc must improve, which will then open his attack to the rack. If he begins to dribble, clog up the lanes, because he’s going to look at attacking the lane. NBA teams will quickly realize this and adjust. He also has issues as a ball-handler. Grimes isn’t exactly Allen Iverson or Kyrie Irving with the ball in his hands. In college, he showed an inability to lead his team as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll situations and was usually pick-pocketed by a smaller guard switching on him.
The Knicks coaching staff has a good problem: depth at the guard position. But the Knicks might be a little too talented to make room for Grimes right now and it wouldn’t be much of a shock if the 25th pick of the 2021 NBA Draft has a few stints with the Westchester Knicks.