Pistons hope the Knicks were wrong about Quentin Grimes

Mar 29, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Cougars guard Quentin Grimes (24) celebrates with
Mar 29, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Cougars guard Quentin Grimes (24) celebrates with / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons want to put Quentin Grimes back on the right path.

Quentin Grimes lit up the Michigan State Spartans in his first collegiate basketball game. A Kansas Jayhawk at the time, Grimes scored a game high 21 points on six-of-ten shooting from 3-point range to lead the nation’s top-ranked team to a 92-87 victory. Yet despite that sensational start to his college career, it was the Houston Cougars that Grimes led to the Final Four a season later.

How did it come to pass that Grimes became a Detroit Piston last Thursday? He did enough in two years of college ball to get selected by the New York Knicks with the 25th pick of the 2021 NBA draft and through his first two professional seasons he appeared to be on a steady, upward trajectory.

Quention Grimes will get his shot with the Detroit Pistons

After playing 17 minutes a night as a rookie he jumped to nearly 30 as a sophomore. His scoring nearly doubled as he improved from 5.9 ppg to 11.2. His field goal percentage, free throw shooting and 3-point accuracy all got better. However, there was a clear regression in this, his third season. He has played just over 20 minutes a game and is currently shooting under 40 percent from the field. His true shooting percentage is the lowest of his young career.

So what happened? Well, the Knicks became legitimate Eastern Conference contenders.

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One could argue that such was the case a season ago, when Tom Thibodeau led his team to a 47-35 regular season record and earned the fifth seed in the conference playoffs. But that squad was heavily reliant on its offensive firepower, which was snuffed out by the Miami Heat in the first round.

The 2023-’24 Knicks team is flipping the script, significantly improving its defensive rating. Additionally, acquisitions like OG Anunoby and veteran Donte DiVincenzo marginalized Grimes.

Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is famously impatient, and he kept Grimes on a short leash this season – and the 6-foot-5, 23 year-old wing let it be known that he wasn’t happy about it.

That’s all ancient history now, speaking of which, Grimes has some history with one of his new Piston teammates. If he was Batman on the Cougars Final Four team a few years ago, Marcus Sasser was Robin.

There is reason to believe that his talents will be better appreciated in the D. His ability to shoot from long range and create shots for others will slide in nicely to this offense, as will his ability to be a slasher. Defensively, he can take on tough assignments and alleviate pressure on the rest of the back court. He'll also be a nice complement to Ausar Thompson on that end.

Grimes will develop at a more comfortable pace without the pressure of helping to bring a much-desired championship to the Mecca. At any rate, he’ll get a chance to prove that his old head coach was wrong to leave him on the bench as often as he did.

We need him to.