Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau hints at starting unit ahead of training camp

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, vying for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, find their path a tad more challenging as the Boston Celtics secure Jrue Holliday from the Portland Trailblazers.

Patient Knicks and the Pursuit of Superstars

Throughout this offseason, the Knicks have remained patient, eagerly anticipating the arrival of a superstar talent. Their approach, however, has been notably non-aggressive when it comes to pursuing specific players. While they’ve inquired about the potential cost of acquiring top-tier talents like Joel Embiid, they showed no interest in engaging in a bidding war for Damian Lillard, who eventually joined the Milwaukee Bucks.

Coach Thibodeau’s Contentment with the Roster

Head Coach Tom Thibodeau appears content with the current roster, but a lingering question remains about how they will integrate the newly acquired free-agent sharpshooter, Donte DiVincenzo.

The DiVincenzo Dilemma

The central question revolves around whether DiVincenzo’s presence will reduce Quentin Grimes’ playing time. Grimes, who delivered solid performances for New York last season on both ends of the court, remains a key consideration. Thibodeau alluded to potential roster adjustments but indicated that changes would only occur if new information necessitates them, suggesting that Grimes is likely to maintain his role.

Thibodeau shared his perspective, stating, “Yeah, we’ll see how it unfolds. When you look at last season and you look at what that group did from December 4th on, they were 37-22. And so you go in with the idea that’s where we are going to start. Now, of course, you haven’t played in any games, and nothing has unfolded yet. You base your decisions on the information that you have, and that’s the information that we have.”

Quentin Grimes: A Developing Talent

Grimes, a promising young player, continues to refine his skills. During the 2022–23 season, the 23-year-old appeared in 71 games, averaging 29.9 minutes, 11.3 points, 2.1 assists, 3.2 total rebounds, and shooting .468 from the field and .386 from beyond the arc. He also demonstrated his defensive prowess, even while nursing a shoulder injury during the postseason.

DiVincenzo’s Arrival and the Competition

Now, Grimes faces competition from Donte DiVincenzo, a player renowned for his defensive abilities and elite three-point shooting. DiVincenzo joined the Knicks after declining his play-option with the Golden State Warriors, playing 72 games last year. He averaged 26.3 minutes per game, contributing 9.4 points, 3.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds. His shooting percentages stood at .435 from the field and .397 from downtown. Averaging 5.3 three-point attempts per game with a nearly 40% success rate, DiVincenzo provides the Knicks with enhanced spacing and efficiency on the perimeter, potentially opening up the offense for Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

Moreover, DiVincenzo, much like Grimes, is recognized for his productive defense. The impending position battle promises excitement, with both players poised to bring out the best in each other. Nevertheless, the Knicks invested significantly in Donte, signing him for $50 million, making it clear that he will play a substantial role in the team’s game plan, whether as a starter or coming off the bench.

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