With 1:45 left in the fourth quarter, New York Knicks starting shooting guard Quentin Grimes missed a wide-open stepback three-pointer that could have cut the Brooklyn Nets’ lead to one. Adding insult to injury, Kyrie Irving hit a dagger 3 over Grimes in the next Nets possession.
That crucial six-point swing enabled the Nets to escape with a 122-115 win amid the Knicks’ furious fourth-quarter rally Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Grimes went 2 for 7 overall from downtown against the Nets. It’s now part of a more significant shooting slump (6 of 27) over his last four games. He was shooting 37 percent from downtown before hitting the wall in Toronto four games ago. That 10-percent drop has contributed to the Knicks’ up-and-down game since losing their starting center Mitchell Robinson to a thumb injury.
Grimes’ shooting struggle comes at a crucial juncture as the Knicks are reportedly pursuing OG Anunoby, a bigger and more experienced version of the Knicks’ starting 3-and-D player.
If the Knicks pull off an Anunoby trade, it could halt Grimes’ big minutes and shove him back to the second unit.
But amid Grimes’ slump and the Anunoby trade rumors, New York coach Tom Thibodeau hasn’t lost faith in the Knicks’ 2021 25th overall pick.
“[Grimes] has proven to be a good shooter in this league,” Thibodeau said after the loss. “Guys are going to go through different things, but you’re hoping. His teammates want him to shoot. We want him to shoot. He’ll be fine.”
Just like when RJ Barrett struggled with his shot, Thibodeau gave his oft-repeated advice.
“Don’t overthink it,” Thibodeau said. “If you’re open, shoot. If you’re guarded, move it.”
“Make a play. It’s an instinctive game. You want rhythm. You want to create a rhythm for your teammates. So don’t overthink it. If you’re open, shoot. You got to be thinking [about] shot first, then move the ball if you’re guarded.”
Grimes’ development is crucial to the Knicks’ timeline after they missed out on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason. The Jazz coveted Grimes, but the Knicks kept him off the table.
Grimes is averaging 10.3 points on 35.8 percent three-point shooting, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 29.9 minutes. All those numbers are career highs, but it wasn’t the jump many have expected from Grimes after the Knicks highly valued him in the failed Mitchell trade negotiations that significantly bumped his playing time.
A part of it could be his role as the fourth option on offense in the starting unit and spending much of his energy chasing the team’s opposing best player. While a play for Anunoby would cut into Grimes’ minutes, his potential return to the second unit alongside Immanuel Quickley would boost his usage and give him a more significant role on offense to catch his rhythm.
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