That trade would’ve moved many pieces around and left the team scrambling to fill out the rest of their lineup and bench. Since it didn’t happen, the Knicks almost have too many cooks in the kitchen and there might be some players struggling for minutes.
Cam Reddish is a player that comes to mind immediately, but Obi Toppin could still find himself fighting for a bigger role. Quentin Grimes is a name who has skyrocketed in popularity due to his Summer League play and his involvement in Mitchell trade talks.
SNY’s Ian Begley believes Grimes could leapfrog Evan Fournier in the starting lineup, and he says if this team stays the same as it is right now, there’s a good chance it will happen.
Grimes Could Start for the Knicks
Grimes is a player who only averaged six points per game last season, but he became a favorite of Tom Thibodeau thanks to his strong defense.
If Grimes can add more scoring, he could become a very solid starter, and some people believe he could be there already, considering his prominent role in the Mitchell trade talks.
“One scenario discussed internally around that time was starting Quentin Grimes at shooting guard and bringing Fournier off the bench,” Begley said. “Another scenario discussed internally involved moving RJ Barrett to shooting guard and Cam Reddish to small forward. If I had to guess, the Knicks discussed several other scenarios at the time and in the 10-plus weeks since the signing. Based on that knowledge, and the idea that Fournier was included in several packages discussed by the Knicks and Utah Jazz in Donovan Mitchell trade talks, I’d assume that Grimes starts and Fournier comes off the bench.”
Fournier is entering the second season with the Knicks, and despite setting a franchise record in three pointers made last year, it might not be enough for him to save his starting spot.
Obi Toppin Due for More Minutes
Since Julius Randle hasn’t been moved, Toppin will be behind him in the depth chart for another season, but the Knicks might find a way to make something good happen for him.
Throughout his tenure with the Knicks, he’s gotten limited playing time because of Randle, but Begley believes that changes this year.
“But I’ve heard that members of the coaching staff think Obi Toppin’s role could increase,” he said. “That’s a natural progression after Toppin’s play at the end of last season. But I didn’t get the sense that what I mentioned above on Toppin meant that he will certainly get a significant minutes increase this season”
Toppin is a high-flying forward who can make a lot of things happen on a fast break, so he’s somebody who you want on the court as much as you can. With Randle getting heavy minutes, that’s hard to do considering Thibodeau doesn’t like to play the two of them together very often.