Grading the Knicks’ NBA 2K22 Ratings: Are they accurate?

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With the release of NBA 2K22 last Friday, we finally have our first look at the 2021-22 New York Knicks roster in 2K. This also means that Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes are playable for the first time ever. Let’s dive into these ratings and see if 2K got it right.

The Ratings

Julius Randle, 87

Can’t really complain about this one. Coming off the best season of his career where he won Most Improved Player(MIP), Randle has earned his place among the top ratings in the Eastern Conference. He should probably be at an 88 or an 89, but his performance in last year’s playoffs definitely played a factor in this year’s rating.

Grade: B

RJ Barrett, 83

This one was really surprising. Not because of how he isn’t higher, but because 2K finally decided to show RJ some respect. 83 is honestly a really great jumping-off point this upcoming season for the 21-year-old. The rating isn’t too low or too high, it’s perfect.

Grade: A

Kemba Walker, 83

Unsurprisingly, this is the lowest rating Walker has had since NBA 2K16. The 5-time All-Star had one of the worst seasons of his career last year and looks to bounce back on his hometown team. His dynamic scoring and playmaking abilities could transform the Knicks’ offense, leading to a ratings boost down the line. However, whether it be from his knee issues or just a regression of his skills, there is also a chance 83 isn’t the lowest we see his rating throughout the year.

Grade: A-

Derrick Rose, 83

After a terrific playoff series against the Hawks last season, D-Rose earned this 83 rating. Although he’s tied for the 2nd highest rating on the team, the former MVP will be coming off the bench this season. Look for him to make a real run at 6th Man of the Year and for this rating to stay pretty much the same all season.

Grade: A

Mitchell Robinson, 80

There’s no question about it: When the 7’0 Robinson is healthy, there are not many other players in the league who can match his level of athleticism and energy. However, he’s coming off multiple injuries, the latter of which saw him miss the final 26 games of the regular season, including the series against the Hawks. If he’s able to stay healthy, there’s little-to-no chance that this rating stays the same. For now, it does make sense after not playing half of last season.

Grade: B+

Evan Fournier, 79

This is the first one that’s way off. 2k has had a tendency in the past to underrate guards/wings that can score in a multitude of ways. Any guard they perceive to not be able to defend well and not have playmaking abilities will have a hard time getting a rating over 80, especially if they play for the Knicks. This one just doesn’t make sense, though. It could be due to the fact that the devs may have been taking his stats with Boston into account too much. Before his trade to the Celtics, Fournier was putting up almost 20 PPG in only 30 minutes per game. Fournier is at least an 82, maybe even an 83. The intangibles he brings on offense, including his shooting and finishing skills, are better than any other 79 in the game. This rating isn’t accurate at all.

Grade: F

Immanuel Quickley, 78

As one of the biggest steals in the 2020 NBA Draft, Quickley improved his rating from a 71 last year all the way up to a 79 by the end of the year. This is why this rating doesn’t really do it for me. To drop down a point after an entire offseason doesn’t make much sense. We’ll see how it unfolds for the second year from Kentucky, but there’s little doubt that he improves enough to get this rating over 80 by the playoffs.

Side note, Quickley is REALLY good at NBA2K.

Grade: C

Nerlens Noel, 78

As the defensive anchor of the Knicks throughout the final stretch of last season that culminated in the team making the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, Noel proved that he wasn’t your average backup center. Defensively, Noel is an incredibly reliable option off the bench. However, his offensive woes will always hamper any rating he’ll ever get from 2K.

Grade: A-

Obi Toppin, 76

If it weren’t for the competency and confidence shown by Obi Toppin at the end of the season last year, there’s a chance he’s nowhere near the 76 that he finds himself right now. The potential is clearly there, but will he find the ability to become more offensively dynamic? Only time will tell. But until we see him take a big leap, the rating he currently holds will stay the same.

The Rest:

Taj Gibson, 76

Kevin Knox, 72

Quentin Grimes, 71

Luca Vildoza, 71

Dwayne Bacon, 71

Miles McBride, 70

Overall, the Knicks have a team rating of 83, which is the highest rating they’ve had since NBA 2K14.

Knicks: How Quentin Grimes became a quintessential Thibs guy

quentim grimes, tom thibodeau, kelvin sampson

More than his outstanding three-point shooting, the biggest pull for the New York Knicks to gravitate towards Quentin Grimes in the first round of the NBA Draft was his impact on winning.

“That’s what we mostly talked about in my conversations with the Knicks and their scouts,” Kelvin Sampson, the University of Houston Cougars head coach, told Empire Sports Media on the phone.

“That’s the thing that they thought they liked most about Quentin as it relates to Thibs’ (Tom Thibodeau’s) culture. There’s a lot of similarities to the Knicks culture as far as what Thibs believes in and what we believe in here. That had a lot to do in them drafting Quentin.”

Grimes already knew he would become a Knick after the team executed a pair of trades during an eventful NBA Draft Night. Before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Grimes’ name, his camp was already excited in anticipation of the announcement.

As the Knicks Draft night plan unfolded, Sampson was on the phone with the team’s general manager Scott Perry, his long-time friend.

“I just remember Scott was asking me questions and telling me what their plan was. That was prior to the 25th pick. And they were really hoping he would be there at 25. They were worried that somebody was gonna take him before them. I think a lot of those moves (trades) were built around drafting Quentin at 25,” Sampson revealed.

“Scott Perry is a professional organizational guy. He knows what he’s doing. They had a plan going in. And they executed it flawlessly.”

The Knicks kicked the can further down the road when they traded their 19th pick to Charlotte for a future first-rounder. With the belief that Grimes would still be on board in the mid-20s, they swapped picks with the Los Angeles Clippers (21st for 25th) to net an additional future second-round selection and save some salary cap space.

So after his hometown team, Houston Rockets, selected Josh Christopher with the 24th pick, the mood at Grimes’ Draft party lit up and was ready to explode.

“When their (Knicks) pick came up, we knew that he was gonna be the pick,” Sampson said, recalling that memorable night. “But you know, you want to hear your name called. You don’t want to react prior to. Quentin just broke down. He was emotional. Because of all the hard work he and his family put into that moment. You just sit back, and I was just so happy for Quentin and his family because he earned that.”

Grimes strongly believed it was his destiny to become a Knick. His perspective changed over the last two years after his initial goal of becoming a lottery pick didn’t pan out. His Houston homecoming had a lot to do with it after a disappointing freshman season with the Kansas Jayhawks.

“I feel like I was picked in the perfect spot. I feel like some people might say I was picked too low or picked too high, something like that. But that’s why I got picked in the right situation,” Grimes said during his introductory press conference. “That’s why going to New York is going to be a match made in heaven.”

Thibodeau and the Knicks front office, led by team president Leon Rose, have created an environment in New York that made players fall in love with the process of getting better by making them accountable.

Grimes went through the same process in his two-year stint with the Cougars that rejuvenated his once flailing basketball career.

“I didn’t think Quentin had hit rock bottom yet when he arrived in our program,” Sampson said.

Grimes, the no. 8 recruit in his class, was a projected lottery pick before he went to Kansas. But things didn’t go according to plan, and his stock plummeted.

During his college debut, Grimes had a spectacular shooting display with 21 points on 6-of-10 three-pointers against Michigan State. But what followed next was a season of disappointment. His offense became erratic. He could only put up single-digit scoring in 17 of his next 35 games and missed 23 of his next 28 three-point attempts. He wound up with an 8.4-point average on a 38/34/60 shooting split that dimmed his prospect of getting drafted in the first round.

“Sometimes you had to fall even further before you can go back up,” Sampson said.

When Grimes couldn’t get a first-round guarantee, he decided to return to college, but he found out that his spot at Kansas was already filled up.

That’s when Sampson scooped him up as the Cougars were looking to replace Armoni Brooks, their best three-point shooter, who decided to go pro.

Marshall Grimes, Quentin’s father, reached out to Alvin Brooks, the Cougars associate head coach at that time.

“[Quentin] is a Houston kid. He was looking for a fresh start somewhere else. We didn’t recruit him out of high school as he narrowed his list down (to the blue blood schools) very early in the process,” Sampson said. “But this time around, his family, the familiarity of Houston and the success our program was having and also the reputation of our staff has in developing guards helped us.”

In a lot of ways, Sampson is very similar to Thibodeau. Both are hard-nosed coaches. Their teams love to defend. But the most striking similarity is both coaches benefited from a coaching sabbatical that allowed them to take a step back and see the current trends that made them better coaches upon their return.

Thibodeau visited many NBA teams in between his coaching stops from Chicago to Minnesota and New York. He learned how things are being done differently.

Sampson also had the same reckoning when he was forced out of his coaching post at Indiana University in 2008 due to recruitment violations.

Sampson revitalized his coaching career during his five-year show-cause penalty with an advisory role to his friend Gregg Popovich. At San Antonio, he saw firsthand how Tony Parker enjoyed freedom in running the Spurs’ offense. He also learned various offensive schemes as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets.

When he was eligible to return to NCAA, the Cougars hired him to rehabilitate their program.

Sampson returned to NCAA a changed man. His tough defensive philosophies were still there, but his deliberate style of offense — a trademark over three decades of coaching with Montana Tech, Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana — was replaced by the pace and space schemes and gave freedom to his guards as much as the NBA coaches do.

Sampson led the Cougars to the first round of the NIT twice during his first three seasons, followed by a Round of 32 appearance that snapped a seven-year NCAA drought. The next year, the Kentucky Wildcats needed a late Tyler Herro three-pointer to fend off the Cougars in the Sweet 16.

Sampson resurrected Houston’s basketball program that hasn’t been relevant since the Slamma Jamma era.

Their recent success under Sampson factored heavily in Grimes’ decision. As a sweetener, the veteran coach got a ringing endorsement from former NBA MVP James Harden who played with Grimes in a pickup game in Arizona during the pre-Draft process. 

Harden and Sampson forged a good relationship during their time with the Rockets. The former Rockets star texted Sampson right after the pickup game with a glowing review of Grimes.

“He told me he thought Quentin was a really good player, which we already knew. We were already recruiting him. I think James endorsed me heavily to him [as a players’ coach]. I’m sure Quentin appreciated what James said,” Sampson said.

Sampson knew he had a rough diamond in Grimes. So he worked on rounding up the edges. In his mind, Grimes’ case was psychological more than anything else.

“Quentin had to do certain things. Coming out of high school, his whole game revolved around offense,” Sampson said.

They started to work on his rebounding. There was a rebounding drill specifically made for Grimes. Sampson would put a cover on the ring, and Grimes was the only one allowed to get the rebound. So every time his teammates shoot the ball, Grimes had to fight the whole team to grab the rebound.

Under Sampson, Grimes learned to be tough and competitive. Defense became a priority. The offense came only second. But the freedom on offense allowed Grimes to flourish and become a consistent shooter.

“Once he learned how to do those things, that’s when I thought his game had started coming around. Psychologically, the challenge there was getting his confidence up. Getting him to believe in things,” Sampson said.

“I think we do a great job in our program of creating adversity, whether it is through hard work or through my ability to get kids to places where they will push themselves. I think Quentin had to learn those.”

Grimes regained his confidence through hard work and preparation. An ethos that Thibodeau also preaches to his teams.

It was not by accident that Grimes’ numbers began to shoot up. His playing time from Kansas remained the same in his first year in Houston, but he put up better numbers across the board.

The Cougars were bound for another NCAA tournament with Grimes on board until the pandemic scratched the tournament.

“We could really see progress during his sophomore year,” Sampson said. “I think Quentin was excited about that. It’s why he didn’t put his name in the [NBA] draft after his sophomore year because he realized he still had more work to do. And good for Quentin. A lot of kids would hurry to get into the pros, and they’re not ready. Quentin wasn’t ready.”

Sampson thought another year with them would be better than Grimes ending up as a late second-round selection and getting relegated to the G League.

“Psychologically, he still had to be a better rebounder, a better on-ball defender and learn how to win and impact winning. Those are all things that are part of the culture we have. Quentin bought into our culture.” Sampson said.

Grimes continued his upward trajectory in his junior year, posting career-best numbers — 17.8 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from deep on 5.9 attempts — leading the Cougars to the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 1984.

He also posted his best defensive rating per 100 possessions at 90.1, a 15-point jump from his freshman year.

Grimes made it personal to defend the opposing team’s best player. He was a big part of why the Cougars were the second-best defensive team in the NCAA last season, allowing only 58.2 points per game behind Loyola Chicago’s 56.1-point average.

“He really bought in (to our culture). He’s such a great kid. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him. To see his progress — almost every game we played this year, he was the best player on the floor — and his confidence took off. His belief in winning grew each game,” Sampson said.

Grimes became the first Cougar to be drafted in the first round since Cadillac Anderson went 23rd in 1987.

In Grimes, the Knicks got a ready-made rookie who can contribute from day one but still has so much room for growth. His appetite for learning is insatiable.

The rookie swingman started his Knicks career poorly, just like the way he did in college. After drilling his first shot — a three-pointer — in the NBA Summer League, he would only hit four of his next 21 attempts from long distance.

But even if his shots were not falling, Grimes didn’t stop playing.

He rebounded the ball, made plays for his teammates, and played resolute defense. 

Sampson was not worried, but still, he sent a text of encouragement to his former star.

“He started out like a rookie,” Sampson said. “I’m sure there were some anxiety and nerves. He was playing with a shoot-first point guard, whereas he played with a pass-first point guard in college. So he’s gonna have to be able to adjust with different styles and players, knowing that he’s not gonna be the first option. It took him a game or two to adjust, but once he did, you saw how good he is.”

Grimes finished the Summer League on a bright note. His final numbers were solid: 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists with nearly a steal and a block per game.

Grimes shrugged off his poor shooting start and ended up with a staggering 41-percent clip on nine three-point attempts.

In a loaded Knicks team, it will be hard to replicate those numbers in the regular season. Minutes would be hard to come by for rookies. But Sampson believes Grimes can earn his way into the rotation.

“He’s a smart kid,” Sampson said. “He knew that he’s not gonna be the first option. But even if you already know that, it will take some time to adjust.”

“He’s gonna be filling in a role. If you think about the NBA, everybody is a role player. For the best guys on that team, that’s their role. For the guys who take the most shots, that’s their role. So Quentin will settle into a role. Once he does, he has to accept it. Be the best that he can be at it. Each year, try to get better. That’s the key,” Sampson added.

Grimes’ initial role could be a 3-and-D spark off the bench when the veterans ahead of him, such as Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, and RJ Barrett, go down with an injury or having off nights. But during his introductory presser, Grimes was adamant that he’s more than just a 3-and-D guy.

Sampson agrees. 

“If you watch [Quentin] play with the Knicks this summer and with us and also at the [Draft] Combine in Chicago, he showed that he could make plays. He is an outstanding defender and a three-point shooter. But he also can put the ball on the floor and create,” Sampson said.

“But as a rookie, he’s just gonna go get in and sacrifice and figure out what coach Thibs wants him to do and do that. If he wants him to be a and 3-and-D guy, then be that guy. If they give you the freedom to do some other things, then make sure you’re ready to do that.”

Sampson, like Thibodeau, has built a reputation as a winner everywhere he goes. Grimes has been wired like a Thibs’ guy. So there’s no doubt in Sampson’s mind that Thibodeau will be able to find a role for Grimes.

“The Knicks organization knows how to win,” Sampson said. “Thibs has been doing that longer than anybody that has been commenting or writing or talking. He knows what he’s doing. He’ll put Quentin in the best position, and more importantly, their team to succeed.”

The Knicks identified what Thibodeau wanted and needed to succeed. Their thorough scouting and sleuthing led them to Grimes, an underrated talent and a high-character guy who will put in the work and put winning above all else.

“Good players, at some point, have to embrace winning over statistics. If all you care about is statistics, then you’re not about winning. Winning is far more important than putting up stats,” Sampson said. “Coaches want to see how much you impact winning, not how many points you can score.”

That is what the Knicks saw in Grimes. The former five-star prospect overcame adversity and repaired his shattered confidence once he embraced the Cougars’ culture and learned to impact winning. Sampson unlocked his true gifts and, in the process, molded him to become a quintessential Thibs guy.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

How can Knicks’ rookie Quentin Grimes make any impact during his rookie season?

quentin grimes, knicks

New York Knicks rookie guard Quentin Grimes will have a tough time getting on the floor this upcoming season, with players like RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Alec Burks ahead of him on the depth chart. However, Grimes is exactly the type of player that head coach Tom Thibodeau likes to deploy. He’s a defensive maestro with solid spot shooting who can connect from range frequently.

Grimes impressed during the NBA Combine, which catapulted his draft stock into the first round. Last season with the University of Houston, Grimes averaged 17.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and shot 40.3% from three-point range. At 6’5″ and 210-pounds, Grimes continuously showed growth throughout the summer, finishing the Summer League in solid form.

Houston coach, Kelvin Sampson, is a defensive-centric strategist, which is why Thibodeau fell in love with Grimes as a potential first-round selection. Despite the team having their eyes on Chris Duarte out of Oregon, Grimes fits a similar mold with the ability to create shots for himself but also play adequate defense in his rookie season.

During Summer League play, Grimes average 32.8 minutes per game over six contests. He posted 15.3 points, shooting 41.6% from the field and 40% from three-point range, showcasing his shooting prowess and success rate. He also contributed 3.0 assists, and 6.3 rebounds to go with 0.5 steals.

Overall, Grimes is breaking out of the mold the coins him a 3-and-D player. He’s capable of playing the pick-and-roll and making plays for himself and others, which provides him with an immediate impact at the NBA level. He prides himself on defense, which will force Thibodeau to get him on the floor on occasion.

Ultimately, injuries show up during a tough 82 game schedule, so Grimes will have to play solid minutes at some point, but he can provide a weapon off the bench in specific scenarios. For example, if the Knicks have a double-digit lead and are looking to break away even further, he’s a solid player to call upon to offer immediate offense while continuing his development.

I wouldn’t expect to see Grimes on the floor during high-intensity moments, but if he continues to perform well and translate his shooting abilities to game day, there’s no doubt he will make an impact.

As a fantastic perimeter defender with active hands in the passing lanes, he could quickly develop during his rookie season, which is what the Knicks are hoping for despite signing Burks to a three-year deal and expecting Quickley to take a step forward in his growth.

Quentin is the type of player that desperately needs live-action to gain ground, and I don’t think Thibodeau will refrain from playing him if he feels he can contribute more than a veteran. Ultimately, the Houston product can be a solid role player, while he will be fighting hard for minutes during his rookie campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an impact one way or another off the bench.

WATCH: Knicks’ Quentin Grimes and RJ Barrett are putting in the off-season work

new york knicks, rj barrett

The New York Knicks have built out a solid foundation of young players with upside. In the most recent draft, the front office snagged Quentin Grimes out of Houston to bolster the shooting guard position. During Summer League play, Grimes increasingly became more efficient, averaging 32.8 minutes per game and scoring 15.3.

Grimes shot 41.6% from the field and 40.7% from the three-point range, averaging nine attempts per contest. He also picked up 1.3 steals per game, 3.0 assists, and 6.3 rebounds.

Overall, he showcased his abilities as a scorer, but he is buried on the depth chart behind options like Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley. However, Grimes will be pushing for minutes during his rookie season, and if the Knicks can produce enough offensively, Grimes could pick up valuable garbage minutes toward the end of games.

Grimes has been working diligently to improve his qualities — working on shock creation and shooting form. Considering how he finished the Summer League, scoring 66 total points in the final three games, the 25th overall pick clearly has solid attributes that translate to the next level.

Aside from Grimes, who is 21 years old, fellow teammate RJ Barrett has spent two years in the NBA is the same age. Last season, Barrett played in all 72 games despite not being old enough to buy an alcoholic beverage in New York. He averaged 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. He also posted a career-high 40% from downtown, attempting 4.3 per game. His effective field-goal percentage settled at nearly 50%, as Barrett feasted in the corners from three-point range.

The young shooting guard is a starting-level talent that is just hitting his stride in the NBA after building muscle mass and experience. Barrett entered the league as a skinny guard, but he’s added plenty of size and weight to take on more physical defenders and drive to the basket with authority. With superior athleticism and great defensive prowess, Barrett will only be looking to improve upon his strengths this off-season.

During Drew Hanlen’s “Pure Sweat Run” this past week, Barrett featured with some prominent names in the NBA, including Carmelo Anthony.

It is nice to see the Knicks’ young players taking this off-season seriously and continuing to put the work in to improve ahead of an important 2021–22 season. With the front office injecting more talent and funds into the bolstering of the team, the Knicks have all the potential in the world.

Just how great did the Knicks’ rookies look to close out the Summer League?

quentin grimes, knicks

The New York Knicks emerged victorious against the Atlanta Hawks in the final preseason game of the Summer League. The Knicks experienced ebbs and flows as they built chemistry and continuity with one another. Going out in style was exactly what the front office wanted to see from their youngsters, especially with the obvious development of Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.

However, it was the team’s rookies that stood out in the victory over Atlanta, combining for 51 points and hitting 11  3-PT shots.

The team walked away victorious by a score of 104-85, pummeling Atlanta and showcasing some of their youth talents. After a 28 point performance against the Detroit Pistons, 25th overall pick Quentin Grimes posted 26 points, six rebounds, three assist, and shot 58.8% from the field. He also connected on 50% of his shots from range, displaying his ability to curate shots for himself but also open up the floor for others.

Over six games, Grimes average 32.8 minutes, including 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and picked up 0.5 steals per game. With his clear-cut progression as the Summer League chugged along, Grimes’s impact will end up being essential for a team that will ultimately create rotations to help mitigate fatigue for the regular starters over the course of an entire season. Over the final three Summer League games, Grimes combine for 66 points. He showcased solid defense, three-point shooting, shot creation, and even portrayed vision as a facilitator.

However, fellow rookie Miles McBride also had a stand-out performance, scoring 19 points and picking up four assists in the win. He shot 70% from the field and hit five three-pointers, good for a 62.5% three-point percentage.

McBride averaged 27.7 minutes per game, posting 15.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He also tallied 1.3 steals per game, a solid number that showed his defensive prowess and quick hands. McBride exceeded expectations valiantly, and if he continues to play like this during the regular season, Tom Thibodeau could begin favoring him in specific situations.

It is clear the West Virginia product has plenty of potential as not only a defensive weapon but also a three-point shooter. Increasing his comfort and vision on the court will only make him a more well-rounded point guard. McBride could be the future at the position for the Knicks, despite Immanuel Quickley looking the part, averaging 20.2 points over 33.5 minutes per game. Quickley also posted a fantastic 7.8 assists per contest, showcasing his efficiency as a facilitator.

One low-key rookie who made a name for himself is Jericho Sims, who average 28 minutes per game. He logged 8.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game. His athleticism above the rim and physicality down low could earn him a roster spot.

Overall, the Knicks saw tremendous value from their rookies, displaying potential nobody expected. The Knicks’ coaching staff is already showing how valuable they can be helping players evolve in such a short period of time.

Obi Toppin says Knicks rookies are showing why they should play next season

new york knicks

The New York Knicks have upgraded their roster via free agency while maintaining their depth to build on the momentum of their first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Knicks went into the NBA Summer League with a primary focus on Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley’s development as leaders, and they are getting more than what they bargained.

Toppin and Quickley have been balling out in their first NBA Summer League after the event was scratched last year due to the pandemic. The Knicks’ sophomores have been included in The Athletic’s NBA Draft analyst Sam Vecenie’s ‘Too Good for Summer League Team,’ while their rookies have shown plenty of promise.

“It’s been great being out there with those guys, leading those guys, and pushing those guys. Everybody on that team has a heart and loves the hustle. When you’re playing with a bunch of dogs, then your team is fun,” Toppin said after the Knicks chalked up their third win in five Summer League games last Saturday.

In a true Tom Thibodeau fashion, Toppin (36.5 minutes) and Quickley (34.5 minutes) lead the NBA Summer League in playing time. Knicks Summer League coach Daisuke “Dice” Yoshimoto has referred to them as leaders of this team.

Toppin has been productive, averaging 23.0 points (no. 4 in scoring), 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks while shooting 46 percent from the floor and making 2.2 3s per game.

“Obi put in a lot of time over the summer. And it showed. He’s gonna continue to get better, put time in, and the result will gonna take care of itself,” Yoshimoto said. “This is his chance to showcase who he is. He’s gonna continue to put his time in, work hard, and build the right habits.”

The biggest takeaway here is Toppin can produce when used right. Toppin was able to show his potential as a rim runner, roll man, and pick and pop big man as opposed to his ill-fitted role last season as a floor-spacing big man just waiting in the corner.

On the other hand, Quickley, despite his shaky shooting (38 percent overall, 25 percent from 3) in Las Vegas, has made great strides as a lead guard with his 8.0 assists ranking third behind traditional point guards — Atlanta rookie Sharife Cooper (9.0) and Boston’s sophomore Payton Pritchard (8.7). Quickley also averages 21.8 points (no. 7) to go with 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

Their rookies Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, Jericho Sims, and their pick-and-stash Rokas Jokubaitis, who left for Spain, have followed their lead.

“All those guys are doing great. Quick (Quickley) has been doing a great job with Deuce (McBride) and Quentin (Grimes). Jericho (Sims) has been doing a great job listening to all of us and doing his part. Every rookie on [our] team is doing good, and they’re showing Thibs why they should be on the court next season,” Toppin said.

Heeding the advice of Allan Houston and Penny Hardaway, Grimes finally looked like the 3-and-D guy the Knicks have drafted in their last two games, scoring 15 and 28 points, after groping for form in his first three games.

McBride has been stellar running the point in Quickley’s absence (due to a sore groin) against the Cleveland Cavaliers. McBride scored a personal Summer League-best 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting and handed out five assists while playing solid defense (four rebounds, two steals, and one blocked shot).

Through five games, McBride, the 36th pick overall, is averaging 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.4 steals with a 50/46/88 shooting split.

Sims has made his first 10 field goals and is leading the Summer League in field goal percentage (88.2 percent) among players who have played at least three games and attempted at least four field goals per game. In four games, Sims has put up 8.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks.

“They are gonna continue to put their time in and get better. Let’s see where they are at training camp,” Yoshimoto said.

Toppin attributed their great on-court chemistry to the culture they had been building in New York since Thibodeau’s arrival last year.

“I feel like just the brotherhood we’ve built. Everybody on our team is very close. We hang out with each other every single day. And we love to compete. Every time we step on that floor, we give it our 110 percent every game, and we’ve got to continue doing that for the season,” Toppin said.

The Knicks will close out their Summer League play against the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. Monday. Toppin and the Knicks are raring to come out with a bang.

“I think one thing we need to focus on is just lock in defensively — having our best defensive game and just having fun out there,” Toppin said. “So, it’s gonna be our last Summer League game, and we need to make a statement going into the new season.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

WATCH: Knicks’ Quentin Grimes top plays from Saturday’s win over Cleveland

quentin grimes, knicks

The New York Knicks are close to wrapping up the Summer League, with one more game against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday evening.

The team has seen ups and downs over the past few games, but the development witnessed by rookie guards Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes has stood out.

McBride has made a surprising impact, providing solid defense as a sleight of hand specialist and Grimes providing adequate shooting from three. In the victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday evening, Grimes had his best performance this summer.

The Houston stand-out posted 28 points, shooting 8-of-20 from the field and 6-of-14 from three-point range. He also connected on 6-of-7 free throw attempts, collecting six rebounds and four assists.

Grimes showed off his athleticism and shooting prowess throughout the contest, giving the Knicks a good base to work off of as they look forward to the start of the 2021-22 season.

Grimes’s standout plays in the victory:

Grimes was considered the second-tier option after Chris Duarte, who the Knicks desperately tried to trade up for. Of course, the comparisons will be frequent for the rookie, but Grimes is proving to be a solid addition who can contribute in multiple ways. As a primary 3-and-D player, Quentin is trying to break that mold and offer a bit more athleticism and aggression in the paint.

The Houston product has leaned on the shoulders of two former NBA stars, Allan Houston and Penny Hardaway.

“Allan Houston told me to keep shooting. Everything will gonna follow. Penny (Hardaway) was texting me: ‘everything will gonna follow. Shoot is what you do.’ That’s why I came out a little bit more aggressive today at all times,” Grimes said.

The more shots Grimes puts up, the better he’s going to look and the more comfort he’s going to feel. Expanding his sample size is the only way to take a positive step forward, and during meaningless games, it is the best time to work out his kinks and develop chemistry with his teammates. Being a bit possessive of the ball and creating shots is how he can adapt to the NBA faster, which will allow him to make an impact on the floor when called upon by head coach Tom Thibodeau.

So far, during Summer League play, Grimes is averaging 33.7 minutes, 13.2 points, 36.7% shooting from the field, and 38.1% from range. He’s also contributing 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. While he would prefer to have a bit more efficiency from mid-range and driving to the hoop, he has plenty of time to develop and prepare for the start of the regular season.

Luckily, New York went out and signed sharpshooter Evan Fournier, previously with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. Having an established veteran at the SG/SF position should give Grimes the cushion necessary to take a more strategized approach toward his development and growth. Leaning on Fournier as a mentor will also be extremely beneficial, as he possesses the ability to create shots for himself and spread the floor for opposing defenses.

Knicks: Allan Houston, Penny Hardaway push Quentin Grimes to play best Summer League game

Shooters will always shoot.

Quentin Grimes entered the NBA with a reputation as a 3-and-D guy after leading the Houston Cougars to the NCAA Final Four last season.

But after Grimes hit his first shot — a 3-pointer — in his NBA Summer League debut, his primary skillset seemed to have betrayed him.

After three Summer League games, he was just shooting 27 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from the 3-point zone.

It wasn’t the shooting form expected from the 25th overall pick after blowing the New York Knicks brass away with his impeccable shooting during the NBA Draft Combine.

Throughout his slump, Grimes never wavered, gleaning on two former NBA stars’ encouraging words.

“Allan Houston told me to keep shooting. Everything will gonna follow. Penny (Hardaway) was texting me: ‘everything will gonna follow. Shoot is what you do.’ That’s why I came out a little bit more aggressive today at all times,” Grimes said.

Houston, a special assistant to Knicks assistant general managers, was a 40 percent career three-point shooter. He had some of the biggest shots in Knicks’ history. On the other hand, Hardaway was a 32 percent career three-point shooter but played his best years with Orlando Magic before playing for the Knicks during the twilight of his career.

Grimes held his pre-Draft camp in Memphis training with Hardaway.

The two former Knicks players’ powerful words rejuvenated Grimes who broke out from his shooting slump Friday.

His 15-point effort nearly helped the Knicks wipe out a 21-point fourth quarter deficit. It took Cade Cunningham’s best game to preserve a Detroit Pistons victory, 93-87, Friday in Las Vegas. Cunningham, the top overall pick, scored 24 points built on seven triples.

Grimes tried to keep up, scoring eight in the final quarter to backstop Obi Toppin’s 31 points.

Grimes hit 3 of 6 from deep and went 6 for 10 overall from the field. He added seven rebounds, three assists and two shot blocks in a well-rounded performance.

”I’m just starting to get comfortable,” Grimes said. “The last few games I was not shooting well.”

Even when his shot was not falling, Grimes did not stop playing.

”I hung onto my defense. I rebounded and continued making plays,” said Grimes who averaged 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists before Friday.

Knicks Summer League coach Dice Yoshimoto kept his faith and also implored his struggling swingman to keep on shooting.

“I told Quentin to be Quentin. If he’s open, shoot it. If not, move it. Don’t overthink. Just shoot and let it fly,” Yoshimoto said. “He’s been putting up a lot of time in the gym. It showed today, and he made some shots.”

Grimes hopes to carry that momentum in Knicks’ Saturday marchup against third overall pick Evan Mobley and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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How can the Knicks get the most out of Quentin Grimes in his rookie season?

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When the New York Knicks drafted Quentin Grimes with the 26th overall selection, they anticipated adding a solid 3-and-D player to the roster. Despite targeting Chris Duarte in the late lottery, the Knicks ended up with their second-best option in Grimes, who was a solid player for Houston last season in the AAC. Some might refrain from cooking Grimes as a 3-and-D player right off the bat, given his aggression and underrated athleticism driving to the hoop.

Over 30 games, Grimes posted 17.8 points, 2.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and shot 40% from three-point range, averaging 8.3 attempts per game. His 32.8 minutes per contest were the highest of his college year career last season, and he’s looking to make an impact as a rookie this upcoming season for his new team.

However, the Knicks signed Evan Fournier, a quality sharpshooter, to a four-year contract worth $78 million. Grimes will have to fight for playing time, but if there’s any way to get on the floor, it is by deploying elite defense. Tom Thibodeau loves players who exert maximum effort on defense, even if their scoring is lackluster at times. However, Grimes has the capabilities to provide value as a rebounder, on-ball defender, and three-point shooter.

Over two Summer League games, Grimes has averaged 34.7 minutes and 7.5 points. He is shooting 23.8% from the field and 35.7% from three-point range, but obviously, these numbers are affected by a small sample size.

Grimes has been overshadowed by rookies Miles McBride, Jericho Sims, and second-year players Obi  Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. He has shown flashes as a quality shooter but needs to be more consistent with his mid-range shot.

First-round draft picks for the Knicks are always heavily scrutinized early in their careers, as Toppin was put under a microscope last season. Averaging just 11 minutes per game isn’t ideal, but the emergence of Julius Randle put his development on the back-burner. The roster has enough talent to allow a gradual growth strategy for their youth, meaning Grimes won’t be expected to play a big role next season.

I would keep a close eye on Quentin, who has fantastic dunking ability to go with his efficient shooting statistics. While some might look at him and think of a Reggie Bullock replacement, he has far more athleticism and skills to develop, which could make him a well-rounded player at the NBA level. It all depends on his coaching and adaptation.

The key for Grimes to get on the floor this upcoming season boils down to his defense and ability to hit open shots. Thibs isn’t going to rely on him to be a focal point on offense and run the team, so allowing him to improve his spacing and curate open shots is his best chance at helping the team.

Too Quick, Too Hot: Quickley lifts Knicks past Pacers in NBA Summer League

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After a jittery start to his first NBA Summer League, Immanuel Quickley got the perfect advice from New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

“Just be yourself,” Quickley revealed.

And he looked like the Quickley that the Knicks have stolen with the 25th pick in last year’s NBA draft and was named to the All-Rookie NBA Team.

After a brutal 5-for-17 shooting in the Knicks’ 89-79 loss to the Toronto Raptors Sunday, Quickley bounced back strong with a game-high 32 points built around 11-of-21 field goals.

He was perfect six-for-six from the line and added eight assists against a single turnover. The guard out of Kentucky also had two steals in a solid game on both ends of the floor.

“Last game, I was kinda trying to find my way and get everybody involved,” Quickley said. “In this game, I’m kinda trying to do both but just a little bit more aggressive, help my teammates and be more of a leader.”

Quickley did much of the damage in the second half, dropping 23 points and six assists where the Knicks outscored the Pacers by 11 points.

Obi Toppin, who fed off Quickley’s point guard play, had another strong outing with 22 points and nine rebounds but had five turnovers.

Toppin started the game aggressively but a little bit out of control. He committed four of the Knicks’ 10 turnovers in the first quarter and missed three baskets around the rim, including a flubbed dunk in his first attempt. But once he got settled and played in the flow of things, the sophomore forward was a wrecking ball.

Two days after the Knicks lost to Atlanta Hawks in the first round, Quickley and Toppin were reportedly back in the gym.

“That’s what the Knicks culture is — working hard, enjoying the work, and getting better,” Quickley said. “We’re really excited for the Summer League team. We’re really excited for the next season. We just want to continue to get better and take the steps to move forward.”

The Knicks have prioritized getting Quickley more reps as a point guard in his first Summer League play. So far, the 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio had been impressive. He said he’s looking forward to soaking in more lessons from Derrick Rose and the newly acquired Kemba Walker.

Meanwhile, fan-favorite Jericho Sims stayed perfect in the NBA Summer League with an eight-point, nine-rebound effort. He was 4-for-4 from the field after going 6-for-6 in his debut. Sims, who signed a two-way deal reportedly for two years per Keith Smith of Spotrac, has been a revelation.

“He played phenomenal running the floor and catching lobs in traffic,” freelance NBA scout Tony Coleman told Empire Sports Media. “He’s playing solid defense on the other side of the ball. He’s definitely a steal in my humble opinion.”

Coleman is in Las Vegas for his scouting trip.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian guard Rokas Jokubaitis, the Knicks’ 36th pick, finally made his Knicks debut contributing three points and one assist in nine minutes.

Jokubaitis, a healthy DNP in the Knicks’ first game, was given more run this time than Luca Vildoza. Knicks Summer League coach Dice Yoshimoto even experimented with a three-guard lineup featuring Jokubaitis, Miles McBride, and Vildoza, who went scoreless in four minutes but managed to grab a rebound and one steal.

The Knicks’ first-round pick, Quentin Grimes, had another rough shooting game with six points on 2-for-10 shooting in almost 35 minutes. Matched against NBA Draft Day target Chris Duarte, Grimes committed five fouls. Duarte had a solid debut filling up the stats sheet with 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two shot blocks. The 24-year old Duarte played with so much poise and shot 4-of-8 from the field, including 3-for-7 from deep.

The Knicks’ other second-round pick, McBride, put an exclamation point to their win and his impressive game with a dunk.

With Thibodeau in attendance, McBride showed the toughness and tenacity that made the Knicks coach fall in love with his game. He scattered 14 points (5-of-7 from the field), three rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

On Wednesday, the Knicks will return to action against the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 pm ET on ESPN2.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo