Tom Thibodeau Makes Bold Decision Regarding Status of Two Knicks Rookies

Quentin Grimes

Getty Indiana's DeJon Jarreau dribbles as New York's Quentin Grimes defends during the second half of a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2021 in New York City.

Even considering the Knicks’ blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, New York has moved with the look and feel of one of the NBA’s most exciting young teams this season. That starts, of course, with Tom Thibodeau.

The Knicks coach has infused a culture of hustle and hard-nosed play at Madison Square Garden. His approach and execution last season earned him NBA Coach of the Year honors, the second time he’s won the award in his career after also earning it in 2011 when he was with the Chicago Bulls.

One of Thibodeau’s key philosophies is now dictating the status of two Knicks rookies. Though Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride aren’t exactly logging big minutes with the team, they likely won’t see extended playing time with the Westchester Knicks in the G League, either.

They’re better off with the NBA team, Thibodeau said, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“I like them with us,” Thibodeau said. “And we have opportunities to get them playing time we’ll try to take advantage of that. But I also think having substitutes in practice for some of our guys is an important part of pacing our team. So the value has to be what’s best for us.”

Thibodeau Shares More on His Philosophy

The Knicks selected Grimes, a shooting guard out of Houston, with the 25th pick in this year’s draft. They selected McBride, a point guard and West Virginia product, with the 36th pick.

Neither has factored in much to the Knicks’ rotation this season. Entering Sunday’s game against the Cavs, they had combined for just nine minutes of playing time.

Both saw the floor against Cleveland at Madison Square Garden, though. Grimes played 12 minutes in the lopsided defeat, scoring six points on 2-of-3 shooting from 3-point range. McBride played only one minute and missed the only shot he took.

“We put a lot of time into our player development. So they’re going to get work before [games and in practice],” Thibodeau said, per Bondy. “But I like the thought of playing time and I also love the proximity of it where they can go and play in a game and get back and also be with us. So we’ll see where it unfolds but right now I need them to be with us.”

Knicks Struggle Again vs. Cavs

The Knicks shot 45.9 percent from the field to the Cavs’ 54.4 percent mark in Sunday’s 126-109 loss. New York was burned most on 3-pointers, where it shot only 29 percent to Cleveland’s 45.3 percent.

“In critical moments, we’re not getting stops consistently and we’re giving teams confidence early,’’ Knicks star Julius Randle said, per the New York Post. “We got to be better. I think it’s our energy, fight and will. I’ve said this from the first day: We’ll be fine if we play defense. Offensively we have enough talent.’’

The Knicks also were outrebounded by 16 as they fell to 6-4 on the season.

“Our defense wasn’t very good,’’ Thibodeau said, per the Post. “Our rebounding wasn’t very good. And if we’re gonna rely just strictly on offense, we’re gonna pay a price for it.

“Whatever the game plan is there’s two things you always look at. One is, are you executing the scheme correctly? Two, are you doing it hard enough? Sometimes the answer to that is you are. And that’s when you change. If you’re lacking in execution of scheme or intensity, it just takes one person to miss. We have to fix it.’’

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