New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has already indicated that he is mulling over potential changes moving forward. After benching Kemba Walker and making a few lineup shifts, the Knicks are still losing games without much resilience. Currently, on a three-game losing streak, the Knicks will look to take down the San Antonio Spurs, who have won four of their last five games, just barely dropping to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night.
San Antonio’s starting team is playing well, and they have a strong bench that offers plenty of value when they are called upon. The Knicks simply need more energy, a factor that has lacked this season of times, as players have indicated so.
One way they can spark a bit more effort is by utilizing some of their young reserve players and increasing their minutes, notably two who have performed well lately.
Two players who deserve more playing time for the Knicks:
1.) Obi Toppin
If the Knicks are looking for a better transition offense and more energy, calling on Obi Toppin would be a sufficient move. Toppin has played 19+ minutes in the last two games, offering a combined 12 rebounds and 15 points. While his offensive game is still developing, especially as a shooter, he was one of the only Knick players to record a positive +/- against Denver.
Toppin’s minutes have been sporadic this season, but he is seeing a slight increase lately with the struggles of the starting team. The Knicks need more energy, but Toppin needs a point guard who understands his game and can help him thrive in transition. Pairing Obi with Immanuel Quickley would be a benefit since Quickleyâ€˜s aggressive mindset puts Toppin in a position to make electrifying plays.
The problem is that Toppin’s defense can be spotty at times, but his effort certainly stands out from the rest.
2.) Quentin Grimes
Another player who could help the Knicks tremendously is Quentin Grimes. He has also seen an uptick in minutes lately. Grimes featured in 12 minutes against Denver, posting six points and playing aggressive on-ball defense.
Having Grimes lockdown one of the Spurs’ top scoring guards would be ideal during portions of the game. His energy is contagious, and giving him more opportunities to score might also be beneficial. Grimes shot 50% from three-point range against Denver, hitting 2-of-4 attempts.
The Knicks need a bit more 3-and-D style players in the lineup, and Grimes offers that plus fantastic perimeter defense. He is a bit small at 6’4″, 210 pounds, since San Antonio utilizes two small forwards and center, but having him lock down the perimeter with another guard is ideal.