One Knicks youngster who should be eating into Evan Fournier’s minutes

Alexander Wilson

At some point, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has to give Evan Fournier the Kemba Walker treatment. While it would be incredibly disappointing to bench a player the front office signed to a four-year, $73 million contract after just 32 games played, at the very least, his minutes must be reduced.

Fournier is averaging 29.3 minutes per game this season, in line with his total from last year when he averaged 13 points, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals and posted a +2.8 +/-. In fact, his offensive rating was better last season, but his defensive rating also showcased more efficiency. This season, Fournier hosts the worst net rating of his entire career at -7.0, with an assist percentage down to 9.3% compared to 17% last year.

Whether it be the players around Fournier or the scheme that Thibodeau is utilizing, he looks like a fraction of the player the Knicks spent big money on this past off-season. After letting Reggie Bullock walk in free agency, it seems as if the Knicks desperately need a 3-and-D player — someone who will post up in the corner and get into advantageous positions to hit shots but also provide adequate defense. Fournier heaves shots off his back foot and off-balance, resulting in wild misses.

The French native has failed to equate his scoring abilities with even average defense. The Knicks may consider using Quentin Grimes in a more prominent role considering his metrics.

Grimes spent the last 10 days on the Covid health and safety protocols list, finally being activated against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, despite not making an appearance. Grimes is averaging just 3.6 points over 8.5 minutes per game, making 14 appearances this season. However, before he sustained a positive Covid test, he had an electrifying performance against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 12.

Against Milwaukee, Grimes posted 27 points, shooting 53.8% from deep and recording three assists and three steals. His aggressive style of defense is exactly what the Knicks need at the shooting guard position. Fournier’s inconsistent feet and positioning put the team in a state of vulnerability.

Ultimately, the Knicks can’t justify benching Fournier completely, but taking five minutes or so from his about 30 per game could go unnoticed, with Grimes showcasing talented defensive attributes.

Grimes has a defensive rating of 107.8, but his offense has come up short under a small sample size. However, Evan has been wildly inconsistent with his shooting, hitting just 18.2% of his three-point attempts against Washington on Thursday, good for just 2 of 11. That is an unsustainable success rate, and while he has been more efficient over the past week or so, he still shooting 31.3% from deep in the month of December and 36.4% on the season, down 4% from last year.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”uj1p0i8aot” question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]Do you think that the Knicks should give Grimes some of Fournier’s minutes? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]