Knicks: Is it time to take Quentin Grimes out of the starting lineup?

New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) shoots in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Before the start of the season, there were high expectations for the third-year performance of New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes. After averaging 11 points per game last season, his season average has now dropped to an abysmal six points through 17 games. Grimes’ recent struggles contrasted with the success of the Knicks’ depth pieces leave his role in the starting lineup in question.

Quentin Grimes is playing with a lack of aggression

The Knicks’ phenomenal depth at the guard position may be the root of this drop, but one aspect that separates Grimes from his comrades is his lack of assertiveness. Grimes shot his first free throws of the season in the Knicks’ most recent win over the Toronto Raptors. 

Jalen Brunson needs help in the backcourt

Considering Grimes is the starter for a team looking to be better than the year prior, his role has seemingly reduced. Jalen Brunson is averaging 25 points per game, currently ranks in the top 30 in assists per game, and is carrying most of the offensive load in the starting backcourt.

Donte DiVincenzo steps up big

As the rigors of an NBA season continue, keeping Brunson in peak form by the playoffs is essential. While Grimes was out with a wrist injury, Donte DiVincenzo stepped up big, averaging 19.5 points and shooting seven three-pointers in a game against Charlotte, asserting himself alongside former Villanova roommate Jalen Brunson. 

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The Knicks have incredible backcourt depth

The depth the Knicks possess in the backcourt is unlike any other team in the Eastern Conference. Grimes is currently averaging less than Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, and Immanuel Quickley, but they all play behind him in the lineup.

The latter being a front-running contender for Sixth Man of the Year, Grimes’s performance as of late indicates a bench role would suit him best for the foreseeable future. Twenty games, nearly a quarter of the season, is an incredible sample size in the NBA. For the Knicks to be in contention, they must make winning moves. 

Who would start ahead of Grimes?

Grimes off the bench would allow either DiVincenzo or Hart to play in heightened roles, as both are currently overachieving behind Grimes. That option adds greater variety to the team’s lineups as the season progresses.

Hart’s consistent double-doubles or DiVincenzo’s 40% from beyond the arc would do wonders for the Knicks. Julius Randle recently spoke of the effectiveness of Hart saying, that when his usage is high the Knicks win ball games

Grimes has been commended by Coach Thibodeau for his tremendous work ethic and preparation coming into this season. Perhaps coming off of the bench could inspire him to play up to his potential.