Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau sends encouraging message to benched Quentin Grimes

New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) shoots in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes came into the 2023-24 NBA season with large expectations on his shoulders, but a recent string of fourth-quarter benching has prompted head coach Tom Thibodeau to speak on the situation.

Knicks: Thibodeau’s Expectations of Grimes Have Not Changed Amid Minutes Reduction

As Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports reported, per the New York Daily News, Thibodeau had this to say about what he expects from Grimes as the Knicks have gone in a different direction down the stretch of their last five games:

“There’s ups and downs. Just be mentally tough,” Thibodeau said postgame, per the Daily News. “Play defense. Run the floor. You don’t know when it changes. It could change the next play. You get an easy bucket. A shot goes down. He’s a good player. So you’ve gotta navigate the good. You can navigate them when it gets tough,” Thibodeau said. “Soldier on. That’s it. Just keep going.”

Grimes put in a lot of work in the offseason to improve his shooting mechanics and has been asked to guard opposing teams’ best wing players on a nightly basis. Despite his crucial role on both ends of the floor, the Knicks have gone with a combination of Immanuel Quickley, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart next to Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson late in games.

All three guards give the Knicks a unique element that bothers opposing defenses. Quickley embodies his name with a quick trigger from deep while DiVincenzo offers floor spacing and high basketball IQ. Meanwhile, the Knicks get pace, grit, and rebounding from Hart.

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Thibodeau’s Coaching Scheme Has Led to Wins

Grimes brings many of those attributes to the team as well in his own right, but for now, Thibodeau has favored Quickley, DiVincenzo, and Hart. There seems to be a method to Thibodeau’s madness or lack thereof, as the Knicks are winners of four of their last five games and have played their best stretch of basketball of the young season.

Grimes is likely to re-enter the rotation to close games as the season carries on, which is why Thibodeau encouraging him to stay ready and tough is exactly what will be needed, especially when the Knicks take on more physical teams like the Milwaukee Bucks in their next outing.