The New York Knicks played their final preseason game of the off-season as if it were a playoff contest against the Washington Wizards on Friday evening. Winning every single game prior to the start of the regular season on October 20, the Knicks are flying high into a year where expectations are elevated after adding Evan Fournier and Kemba walker in free agency.
The Knicks’ final win over Washington proved multiple things, including their resilience and perseverance to come back from a deficit that reached as high as 19 points. Marching their way back in the fourth quarter, All-Star power forward Julius Randle connected on a step-back jumper to win the game, and while it didnâ€™t have any meaning on the schedule, it provided the team with plenty of motivation and confidence moving forward.
However, one of the more interesting takeaways from the game was a player combination curated by head coach Tom Thibodeau. With Alec Burks resting in the final preseason matchup, rookie Quentin Grimes picked up his minutes instead, and he provided fantastic and aggressive defense the entire fourth quarter.
The lineup Thibodeau chose didnâ€™t include a center with Taj Gibson fouling out — it featured Julius Randle and Obi Toppin as the enforcers down low.
- PF: Julius Randle
- PF: Obi Toppin
- PG: Derrick Rose
- SG: RJ Barrett
- SG: Quentin Grimes
Derrick Rose looked like his vintage self, which seems to be more of a regular occurrence. He posted 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field over 29 minutes. He also contributed six assists which benefited the team tremendously during their comeback.
This combination indicates that Grimes would likely be the supplement for Burks or Barrett if either are unable to play for a given reason. While the Houston product only connected on 2-of-9 shots, he earned a +16 +/- and contributed six rebounds and two steals over 21 minutes.
Getting Grimes a solid sample size of playing time was essential for Thibodeau, who needed to see him in a more prominent role with the starters before the regular season commenced. His fantastic defense will likely aid in his development this year and provide comfort for Thibodeau when heâ€™s on the floor. If Quentin can begin hitting his shots more consistently, he could be a dangerous weapon off the bench for a team that is already considerably deep at most positions.