DiVincenzo Replacing Grimes In Knicks’ Starting Lineup

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau played coy ahead of Friday’s matchup in Boston, saying there “could be” lineup changes in store (Twitter link via Steve Popper of Newsday).

However, Fred Katz of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Donte DiVincenzo will start at shooting guard in place of Quentin Grimes. Stefan Bondy of The New York Post confirms the news (Twitter link).

It’s a noteworthy development for multiple reasons. Grimes has been struggling lately, scoring just 16 points on 5-of-28 shooting over his last seven games, and he expressed frustration with his limited role in the team’s offense following Tuesday’s in-season tournament quarterfinal loss to Milwaukee.

“It’s just hard when you go the whole quarter without touching the ball, the whole second quarter without touching the ball, and then you get one shot and you got to make it,” Grimes said. “So it’s tough going out there and just standing in the corner the whole game. Then you got to make the shot when you shoot the ball one or two times per game. It is what it is.”

DiVincenzo, on the other hand, has been on a heater of late, averaging 11.4 points while shooting 51.8% from three-point range over his past nine contests, including a pair of starts when Grimes was injured. DiVincenzo was New York’s primary offseason addition, signing a four-year, $47MM contract to join the Knicks in free agency.

Grimes, 23, was the 25th pick of the 2021 draft. Known as a solid defender, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists on .468/.386/.796 shooting in 71 games last season (66 starts, 29.9 minutes). In ’23/24, his numbers are down across the board — he has posted 5.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG and 1.2 APG on .359/.345/.667 shooting in 18 games, all starts (22.9 MPG).

Part of the reason Grimes is playing fewer minutes is due to the team’s crowded wing rotation, with RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart also in the mix. And he’s not the only player who has shown a level of frustration with a reduced role — Hart made similar comments last week, though he made a point to say he wasn’t a “disgruntled player.”

It will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds. Perhaps Grimes will have more on-ball opportunities with the second unit, with Katz recently suggesting the third-year guard could look to be more active off the ball too.

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