The NBA Draft Combine has the potential to either help or hinder prospects’ draft stock. For the University of Houston’s Quentin Grimes, he knows this first-hand.
In 2019, Grimes, fresh off his freshman season at the University of Kansas, declared for the NBA draft and participated in that year’s combine. But he withdrew from the draft and went back to playing college ball.
Two years later, Grimes, a junior guard, is back in the draft. He participated in the combine, but this time is here to stay following an impressive showing.
Prior to the combine, Grimes was projected to be selected late in the second round. But his stock has risen significantly.
The Athletic’s John Hollinger reported that Grimes has improved his stock enough to make himself a mid-second-round pick or better. ESPN’s post-combine mock draft has the Philadelphia 76ers taking him with the No. 28 pick.
Should the Sixers land Grimes, they could find themselves with a solid 21-year-old wing who could be a 3-and-D player.
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Grimes comes to the NBA draft after two seasons at the University of Houston and one at Kansas.
He transferred to Houston after one season at Kansas and a withdrawal from the 2019 draft. At Houston, Grimes played an essential role in the school’s recent Final Four run.
The junior shooting guard led Houston with 17.8 points in 32.8 minutes per game. Over the course of his 30 games, he also rebounded well for his size with an average of 5.7 rebounds. His play earned him the honor of the American Athletic Conference’s co-Player of the Year for men’s basketball.
He was also named to the All-America Third Team by various organizations and media outlets: the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the Sporting News.
At this year’s combine, Grimes measured in at 6-feet, 4-inches without shoes and 6-feet, 5.25 inches with shoes and a wingspan of 6-feet, 8-inches.
As a junior at Houston, he shot 40.6% from the field and a nearly identical 40.3% on 3-pointers, so he has shown an ability to shoot well. But what makes his long-range shooting more impressive is the fact that it is a significant improvement from his 3-point shooting numbers in previous seasons.
During his first two seasons in the NCAA, Grimes shot 34.0% and 32.6% on 3-pointers, respectively. His 40.3% 3-point shooting also came with an increase in 3-point attempts, going from 4.3 to 8.3 attempts from his sophomore to junior seasons.
Hollinger mentioned that Grimes had a solid shooting performance during scrimmages that took place at the NBA Draft Combine in late June. Over the course of two games he scored 39 points and went nine-for-16 on 3-pointers.
“His shooting performance (at the Combine) this weekend makes it easier to buy the improvement,” Hollinger said.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony noted in his mock draft that Grimes would be a good fit for a Sixers team “looking to surround their core with as much 3-point shooting as possible after a disappointing playoff exit.”
Grimes is also known for his defense, so he could make a name for himself in the league by being a 3-and-D type player. Grimes averaged 1.4 steals per game, and Celtics Wire’s Justin Quinn also said the guard from Houston has “good defensive fundamentals,” so there’s promise of translating those skills to the NBA.
When Grimes participated in the 2019 combine, the Wichita Eagle reported that Grimes showed his ability to be a playmaking guard. But that area is still one that needs improvement years later.
Pelican Debrief’s Aaron Kellerstrass said Grimes struggled to make plays and handle the ball at Houston. Given his poor assist-to-turnover ratio, it’s not surprising. During his junior season, he had a nearly 1-to-1 ratio with averages of 2.0 assists and 1.8 turnovers per game.
Even if Grimes doesn’t end up acting as a playmaker much in the NBA, it wouldn’t hurt to improve in the aforementioned areas.
According to Givony, however, Grimes “showed a lot more versatility as a passer than he had previously gotten credit for in what was an outstanding week of play at the NBA combine.” So it’s possible that he has already made strides there since Houston’s season ended.