Knicks have interesting position battle developing at shooting guard

quentin grimes, knicks
Feb 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) dribblers past Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks recently announced the long-term signing of guard Donte DiVincenzo, effectively setting up a competitive scenario for the starting shooting guard slot. Now, the stage is set for an interesting contest between DiVincenzo and third-year player Quentin Grimes.

Grimes’ Impressive Stint

Grimes played a pivotal role in the Knicks’ successful run last season, averaging 11 points per game while hitting 39% of his shots from beyond the arc. His superior perimeter defense complemented his offensive contributions well. Out of all the games he played last season, Grimes started all but five.

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DiVincenzo’s Consistent Contribution

Meanwhile, DiVincenzo started in half of the total 72 games he played with the Golden State Warriors last season. His contribution, whether as a starter or a bench player, remained consistent, with averages of 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, four assists, and 1.5 steals per game. This shows that DiVincenzo’s productivity isn’t significantly influenced by his spot in the rotation.

Grimes Vs. DiVincenzo: A Comparative Analysis

Contrarily, Grimes’ performance displays a stark contrast between his stints as a starter and as a bench player. Over 45 career games off the bench, Grimes averaged only 4.6 points with a 38.6% field goal percentage. This is a significant drop compared to his average of 12.1 points and 46.8% shooting as a starter.

It’s apparent that Grimes has found better on-court chemistry alongside Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. Keeping him in the starting lineup allows Grimes to maximize his productivity. Thus, the Knicks may consider retaining Grimes in the starting five, at least at the start of the upcoming season.

Prospects for the New Season

Keeping the full starting five from last season could have additional benefits, allowing the Knicks to continue building on their established chemistry and further develop Grimes’ game.

Given DiVincenzo’s comfort and effectiveness coming off the bench, his placement doesn’t necessarily affect the Knicks’ overall production. His defensive prowess would likely see him closing most games. Furthermore, featuring DiVincenzo alongside Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart off the bench during early game segments could be a nightmare for opposing teams’ second units, due to their defensive intensity and scoring abilities.

It’s noteworthy that even if Grimes is relegated to the bench in favor of DiVincenzo, the Knicks would still emerge as a deeper, stronger team compared to the previous season. Despite a drop in Grimes’ offensive production from the bench, his defensive tenacity would ensure he remains a net positive regardless of his spot in the rotation.

The Knicks’ final decision regarding the shooting guard position remains to be seen. However, having two capable starters for the position is undoubtedly a pleasant conundrum for the team.

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