The New York Knicks prioritized three-point shooting this off-season, deploying their highest draft selection and spending an exorbitant amount of free agency money to help bolster the category. Last season, the Knicks ended up being one of the best three-point shooting teams in basketball during the second half of the season, but theyâ€™re looking to improve upon that success and put together an entire campaign of efficiency.
With that idea in mind, the Knicks spent the 25th overall pick on Quentin Grimes out of Houston. The 6’5″, 205-pound guard featured on one of the best defensive teams in college last year, but his strength resides in the three-point category. He shot 40.3% from range, attempting 8.3 per game. Grimes averaged 17.8 points over 32.8 minutes per game.
However, Grimes isn’t only a three-point shooter, heâ€™s an aggressive, athletic player who can drive to the rim. As a pesky defender, he fits Tom Thibodeauâ€™s mold perfectly as the Knicks fell in love with him prior to the draft. While they were targeting Chris Duarte out of Oregon, Grimes was the next best option as a three-point shooting guard.
Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson described his team’s culture as been hard-nosed, tough, defending, and rebounding. However, Grimes took the easier route when he first joined the program, not exerting maximum effort in the rebounding category and helping in detailed ways. Sampson brought that effort out of him, which caught the attention of Thibodeau.
â€œWe needed his talent, but he needed what our programâ€™s culture was about. And that was being hard-nosed, being tough, defending and rebounding.â€ Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson says. â€œI think Quentin always thought that was for the [peons].Â Thatâ€™s for the regular guys. Iâ€™m a star. I donâ€™t need rebounding. But in our program, my man, if you donâ€™t get on them boards â€¦â€
In fact, during an interview with Sports Illustrated, Sampson stated he would make the entire team run if Grimes didnâ€™t rebound like he was supposed to. Samson believes God put Grimes in his program to iron out his deficiencies. Impressively, only two players snagged more rebounds than Grimes last season, ranking second in the conference in steals and one of three players to connect on more than 100Â three-point shots. If that wasnâ€™t enough, Grimes also lead the American Athletic Conference in total points.
Despite his success with Houston, the Knicks donâ€™t want to rush his development and force him into a starring role immediately. That is why the front office signed sharpshooter Evan Fournier on a four-year, $78 million deal. Fournier is an established NBA veteran who averaged 17.1 points last season, including 3.4 assists and shooting 45.7% from the field. Heâ€™s also a high octane three-point shooter, connecting on 41.3% over 6.7 attempts per game.
Over the course of a long season, Grimes can help supplement Fournier when he needs rest. Averaging 30 minutes per game last year, that leaves an additional 18 minutes of playing time that will likely be picked up by Grimes, as long as he can adapt quickly.
With Reggie Bullock signing with the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks supplemented his loss with an even better score who can create for himself. Fournier represents an upgrade, and Grimes can contribute defensively immediately when the French player is off the floor.
I wouldnâ€™t rule out Grimes offering scoring production as well, offering a one-two punch for the Knicks as they prepare for the 2021-22 season.