Knicks’ roster construction reportedly causing frustration from those close to the organization

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and head coach Tom Thibodeau against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

From Quentin Grimes’ diminished role in the offense to problems with depth and ball movement, the New York Knicks are facing brewing frustrations around their roster construction and gameplan execution as the season reaches a pivotal stage.

Quentin Grimes Stuck in a Rut in Knicks’ Rotation

Grimes is not happy about the amount of looks he’s getting when on the floor, which had him sound off in candid fashion, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Post:

“It’s just hard when you go the whole quarter without touching the ball, the whole second quarter without touching the ball, and then you get one shot and you got to make it,” Grimes, 23, said. “So it’s tough going out there and just standing in the corner the whole game.”

Grimes hasn’t seen the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ last seven games, but the problem is now extending throughout the entirety of games. Grimes has not been featured in a healthy amount of half-court sets with off-ball screens and misdirections created for him to get catch-and-shoot looks from beyond the arc.

The third-year pro was expected to take the next step from his 11.3 points per game on 38.6 percent shooting from three a year ago, but instead, he’s continually lost favor to backup Donte DiVincenzo and other guards on the Knicks’ depth chart. But that’s not the only issue the Knicks are facing.

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Former Champ Kenny Smith Thinks Knicks Need a Better No. 1 Option to Compete For a Championship

TNT analyst Kenny Smith does not think the Knicks have enough talent at the top of their hierarchy to compete with the best teams and players in the Eastern Conference. He insinuated this about Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, as shared by Max Gamarra of Fan Nation:

“Every game that they play, they always have the second-best player,” Smith said during TNT’s pregame show. “You play Boston, you’ve got the second or third best player. You play Orlando, with (Paolo) Banchero, they don’t have a player that’s better than Banchero. Milwaukee, we know they don’t. Philadelphia, they don’t. The Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton is the best player. If you play the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler is the best player on the floor. If you play the Cleveland Cavaliers, you have Donovan Mitchell.”

Smith touting second-year burgeoning star Paolo Banchero as better than Randle and Brunson may be a stretch, though his assessment holds much truth. While Julius Randle was named to the All-NBA Third team in 2022-23 and Brunson was a fringe All-Star selection, the 76ers, Celtics, and Bucks all have former MVP or MVP-caliber players at their helm and Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton continues to establish himself as arguably the best distributor in the NBA.

Come playoff time, the Knicks as a unit have had their share of struggles with consistency. They’ll need more, especially from Randle if they want to subdue any of the aforementioned teams and make a deeper run this postseason.

The Knicks have been tied to reigning MVP Joel Embiid in trade talks, as well as Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell. Both would give the Knicks an edge over the field. So far, the Knicks have proven they could best Mitchell and the Cavaliers in last season’s First Round series, but a highly anticipated marquee trade may be needed to get closer to capturing their first Larry O’Brien trophy since 1973.