Hard-nosed player. Hard-nosed coach.
The Knicks’ new shooting guard, Quentin Grimes, isn’t squabbling about being picked 25th in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The University of Houston junior said on Zoom Friday he has the skill set to contribute immediately to the Knicks, saying he was “picked in the perfect spot in the right situation.”
“Tough, hard-nosed coach,” the 6-foot-4 Grimes said of Tom Thibodeau, one day after the Knicks traded their 21st-overall pick to the Clippers for No. 25, which they used to scoop him up. “I feel it’s a match made in heaven. [The fans] can be on you, but it’s for the best. I definitely want to be part of it in New York. I know they got something special going. They made the playoffs and in years to come they‘re going to be closer to The Finals.”
Grimes, 21, is coming off a Final Four appearance with Houston. Neither that run nor his excellent showing at the NBA Draft Combine could get him a green-room ticket at Barclays Center as a top-20 prospect.
No green room, but a lot of grit from Grimes, who transferred to Houston from Kansas following a disappointing freshman year after being one of country’s hottest recruits.
“I feel everybody knows I’m a high-level shooter, high-level defender,” said Grimes, who will compete in the Knicks’ summer league opener against the Raptors on Aug. 8 in Las Vegas.
“People label me a ‘3-and-D’ guy, but I feel I’m a lot more than that. I can play pick-and-roll and make plays for me and others and can make an immediate impact shooting the ball from 3 and locking down defensively, which I pride myself on. I’ll have an immediate impact with the Knicks with my shooting ability.”
The Post reported on July 7 that Grimes wowed the Knicks at a workout. Though the Knicks traded both their first-round picks (19 and 21), team president Leon Rose, according to a source, feels he got players worthy of those slots in Grimes and gritty point guard Miles McBride, who was taken with the 36th-overall pick.
Grimes was in the 2018 high-school class, the same as RJ Barrett, who went one-and-done at Duke and was taken No. 3-overall by the Knicks in 2019. Grimes struggled at Kansas before transferring to Houston.
Barrett sent him a direct message late Thursday night: “Let’s get ready to work.”
Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, another member of that 2018 high-school class, also reached out to Grimes. After Quickley was selected 25th in 2020, critics asserted the Knicks had reached, but h ended up being named to the All-Rookie Second Team. Grimes also knows the Knicks’ Reggie Bullock because they share the same agent, David Bauman.
Grimes was a teammate of Barrett’s at the Jordan Brand All-Star game and they played together in the McDonald’s game, too.
“We had a cordial relationship and it’s going to be better now,” Grimes said. “A chance to be teammates for a whole year, it will be really fun for Knicks fans. I have a relationship with a few guys.”
In retrospect, Grimes is glad his NBA journey took a circuitous path. He gained a lot from working out with University of Memphis coach Penny Hardaway in the lead-up to the draft.
“Going through what I went through my freshman year, playing through adversity and coming out on the other side, having the season I had and then training with Penny, I feel like this was the best outcome for me,” Grimes said.
Bradley Beal, Jamal Murray and Devin Booker are the three players Grimes patterns his game after, watching film.
“The fans expect nothing but greatness every time you step on the court,” Grimes said. “They can hard be on you, tough-nosed but I embody that culture.”