How long will the Knicks have Quentin Grimes be a “situational” player?

Dylan Backer
Quentin Grimes, Knicks
Nov 4, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) in action against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks‘ two-way guard, Quentin Grimes, is back from a nagging foot injury that kept him out for a portion of the start of the new season. Grimes played in just his fourth game of the season Friday against the Detroit Pistons, and played just 8 minutes off the bench and scored 5 points, which ironically has been his most productive game this season.

Knicks head coach, Tom Thibodeau, stated before Friday’s game that Grimes is considered a “situational” player at this time. Thibodeau clarified his statement pregame on Friday.

“He’s missed a lot of time. So the conditioning part of that is part of that equation. As he gets opportunities, he’ll play more & more.”

Tom Thibodeau on Quentin Grimes’ return from injury via SNY’s Ian Begley

What is the Knicks’ definition of “situational”?

Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks have not made a clear indication as to what insinuates playing time for Grimes. The former 2021 first-round pick has seen an inconsistent share of availability this season. After playing only the last 5 minutes in his season debut against the Atlanta Hawks, Grimes started against the Philadelphia 76ers in correspondence to Evan Fournier’s demotion to the bench, but only played 15 minutes in that game.

Grimes would then miss the next 2 games against the Celtics and Timberwolves before returning from an injury setback this past Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets, but again, he only played the final 5 minutes off the bench in a blowout loss before playing 8 minutes on Friday.

So, it would appear that the Knicks do not know when to get Grimes in for significant action, which would explain the vagueness publicly in terms of his availability.

Foot injuries are no joke for NBA players. It takes a while for them to fully heal and it can also take some time for a player to get their quickness back after suffering one. Understandably so, it could be a while before we see Grimes’ minutes truly increase.

However, the fluctuation of playing time for Grimes could be a sign that his injury is more serious than initially presumed, especially given the fact that the former Houston product is supposed to be a highly impactful player for the Knicks this season.

The Knicks badly need Quentin Grimes to be healthy

With Grimes’ vague “situational” status, Cam Reddish has assumed the starting role at the shooting guard position, as New York appears to stick to playing Fournier with the second unit. Reddish has struggled mightily on the offensive end in his four starts this season, averaging just 4 PPG while shooting an awful 19.2% (5-26) from the field and a horrendous 21.4% (3-14) from 3 in 25.3 MPG.

To put it bluntly, the Knicks can not continue to start Reddish if Grimes is available to play even for half of his normal workload.

With New York seemingly feigning for options at the shooting guard position, now may be the time to insert Grimes back into the starting lineup and increase his workload game-by-game. His combination of efficient shooting and incredible perimeter defense would really help solve the Knicks’ issues at the shooting guard position.

The Knicks are playing mediocre basketball to start the season, and with how competitive the Eastern Conference is this season, they have to play their best (and most healthy) lineup possible every single game to have the best chance at getting back to the postseason.

Grimes is expected to be active for Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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