Knicks’ Quentin Grimes adored by coach as ‘fierce competitor’

Before the Knicks acquired Cam Reddish from the Hawks for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick on Thursday, Atlanta reportedly asked for Quentin Grimes.

But given the way coach Tom Thibodeau spoke enthusiastically about Grimes on Friday, perhaps it should come as no surprise that the Knicks aren’t willing to part ways with the rookie.

“I love Grimes. I love Grimes,” Thibodeau said after practice on Friday. You look at his shooting profile, it was great in college. It was great with the pros. So that’s an important part of winning. Then seeing the way he protects people, his competitiveness, it stands out.

Grimes has played in 24 games this season, including two starts, averaging 4.9 points and shooting 38.4 percent from 3-point range in 13.7 minutes. But the Knicks’ recent COVID-19 and injury issues have opened the door for him to see more opportunities, and he’s taken advantage of them.

Quentin Grimes
Quentin Grimes
NBAE via Getty Images

In his last 10 games — in which the Knicks went 7-3 — Grimes is averaging 6.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and one steal in 21.1 minutes.

While Reddish won’t play immediately due to a sprained ankle, it remains to be seen if his arrival will force anyone out of the rotation.

Thibodeau admitted that would likely happen at least when Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose return from injury, but said he liked the way the current rotation was playing.

“The squad playing right now is playing well,” said Thibodeau. “So we want that to continue.”

Walker, who has missed the last seven games with left knee pain, is “doubtful” to play against the Hawks on Saturday, Thibodeau said.

Before addressing the acquisition of Reddish, Thibodeau made sure to give props to Knox, whose disappointing tenure with the Knicks ended after more than three seasons.

“Kevin did a good job for us,” Thibodeau said. “I have a lot of respect for him and his professionalism, the way he behaved and of course we wish him well.”

When asked if he had heard from former Duke teammates since the reddish trade ended – Zion Williamson notably joined them to form a Big 3 for the 2018-19 Blue Devils – RJ Barrett said with a smile: “We’ll keep it in house”, perhaps wanting to avoid any smell of falsification.


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