Quentin Grimes plays an important role for the Knicks, but his recent struggles have seemed to hurt his confidence and offensive output.
The NBA season started about a month ago and the Knicks have already faced and defeated adversities including a tough early schedule, slow starts, and even some injury concerns but to their credit, they are in pretty decent shape and playing good basketball. There is, however, something of an elephant in the room, one they probably shouldn’t and can’t ignore for much longer: Quentin Grimes’ poor shooting. The Knicks have played 16 games so far and Grimes’ output has been less than ideal. Something’s got to give, and the question that has been circling is if he may have to be moved to a reserve role until he works his way out of his funk. Luckily for the Knicks, there are viable options in-house with a track record of success in the event of a Grimes demotion.
The Knicks have been hoping for Grimes to add a 3-and-D wing element to their starting unit, but unfortunately, it hasn’t really translated outside of a couple of times this season. The Knicks have no issue scoring the basketball, they have plenty of that, but Grimes’ offensive ineptitude has been hard not to notice.
Quentin has played 14 of 16 total games this season and he’s surpassed double-digit scoring four times. He’s averaging only 6.8 points per game and shooting just 37.8%. His best outing so far came against the Bucks where he scored 17 points on 50% shooting. It’s very difficult to judge a player based on semantics but I will attempt to do so. If you take those four double-digit scoring games out his shooting average drops 24.6% and points per game down to 3.5. In the games where Grimes was able to contribute significantly offensively, he shot well from beyond the arc so if his three-pointer is falling there’s nothing to worry about, but unfortunately, it’s been too sporadic to be consistent. These numbers are concerning because they show a glaring issue in his scoring ability.
Grimes attempts more three-pointers than any other shot and is currently converting 36% of his attempts which is right on par with the league average. Grimes’ most effective shots are catch and release, where he shoots an even 40% but he also has the ability to finish around the rim. While it’s a small sample size, Grimes is converting 54.5% in the restricted area so in the rare occasions he does get to the rim he’s able to score more often than not which is something he can hang his hat on. While Grimes isn’t going to get many shot attempts he needs to take advantage of the one he does like he did last season. It doesn’t always have to be an ill-fated rushed three-pointer; he can attack the basket more often, an underrated part of his game. According to NBA advanced stats, the rate at which he blows by his defender is 30.4% on a drive (about the same as last year’s 30.5%) so he does have the ability to create and get to the rim against a closeout.
Quentin Grimes already missed time this season with injuries so that could easily be contributing to his early shooting woes. Last season Grimes shot 46.8% while averaging 11.8 points per game, so it’s not like the ability is not there. Still, the prolonged cold streak is a bit concerning considering he’s the starting shooting guard and there are other players currently outperforming him. Immanuel Quickley, who should probably be starting anyway, has been invaluable so far this season averaging 15.9 points per game on 44.3% shooting; in any other circumstance a change in the lineup possibly would’ve been made but Quickley’s efforts off the bench have made the second unit a nightmare for opponents so New York’s hesitancy is understandable in that regard. But if Grimes’ performance doesn’t improve soon the Knicks may not be able to ignore it for much longer.
Another player who the Knicks might consider slotting into the starting spot, if only temporarily, is Donte DiVincenzo, who’s been better than advertised this season. He’s been an excellent addition that has proven his all-around ability early, playing tough defense while shooting nearly 40% from three. The Knicks have already gotten a taste of DiVincenzo as a starter when Grimes missed two games – the Villanova alum stepped up by averaging 19.5 points in that small opportunity. But it’s not only the scoring he can provide, he can also fill Grimes’ shoes defensively.
It’s clear that Quentin Grimes isn’t at his best right now. He may be feeling pressure within himself to perform or it may be the recent injuries but moving into a lesser role could be a way to help him regain confidence in his scoring ability. Whether the Knicks decide to make the change is anyone’s guess and they are playing good basketball so it’s not as apparent a need as it otherwise could be. Still, his struggles can’t be disregarded much longer, especially when there are currently guys who look to be more deserving of his role.