LAS VEGAS — Knicks rookie taking pictures guard Quentin Grimes finally took issues into his personal fingers, lighting up like neon in Sin City.
The Knicks’ 2021 first-round decide listened to the words of his former Houston coach, Kelvin Sampson. Listened to his mentor throughout draft prep, Penny Hardaway. Heard from his NHL-playing brother, Tyler. Heeded recommendation from Knicks govt Allan Houston. And continues to lean on former Knick Reggie Bullock.
After one other quiet first half on offense by which he stayed principally within the nook awaiting passes that by no means got here, Grimes scored 10 of his 15 summer-league excessive factors within the second half of Friday night’s loss to the Pistons. He began to create. He completed 6-of-10 from the sphere, 3-of-6 from 3. He additionally had two blocks.
“I’m beginning to get actual comfortable,’’ Grimes mentioned late Friday evening. “The first two video games, I didn’t shoot it the best way I can. But I hung my hat on protection and rebounding and making performs. Allan Houston advised me hold taking pictures, they’re going to fall. Penny texted me and mentioned you’re a shooter, hold taking pictures. That’s what you do. That’s what I did as we speak, being aggressive always.’’
Showing he’s not only a 3-point shooter, Grimes took off from the baseline within the third quarter and powered in for a layup whereas getting fouled.
Two minutes later, Grimes drove the ball, the protection collapsed. Grimes faked a again go to Immanuel Quickley, then fed inside to middle Wayne Seldon, who missed the layup however was fouled.
“I needed to be extra aggressive and assertive when defenses collapse on me and make the fitting play, attempting to get my teammates into the sport,’’ Grimes advised The Post. “I’m leaning the system each sport. [Summer-league coach Dice Yoshimoto] is working the identical system as Thibs [Tom Thibodeau]. Just getting extra comfortable what we’re doing on the market.’’
Grimes thought he’d have Bullock as his teammate, however the Knicks beginning taking pictures guard of 2020-21 signed with Dallas. They share the identical agent, David Bauman, and the gamers nonetheless are in contact.
“Reggie advised me Thibs loves shooters and loves defense,’’ Grimes mentioned. “That’s the 2 issues I do. He’s giving me recommendation about protection and my new metropolis, actually serving to me as a lot as doable.’’
Through 4 video games, Grimes averaged 9.5 factors and 6.5 rebounds, taking pictures 35 p.c however an honest 35.7 p.c kind 3.
In the primary three video games, Grimes took simply 10 pictures per sport whereas averaging 35 minutes.
Sampson advised The Post earlier this week that “it’s OK to be just a little egocentric in summer time league’’, noting Grimes is taking part in alongside Quickley, who’s “a shoot-first, shoot-second, shoot-third level guard.’’
Sampson says he thought Grimes, who led Houston to The Final Four in March, had “butterflies’’ within the summer-league opener and will probably be simply nice.
“There’s a motive he’s a first-round draft alternative,’’ Sampson mentioned. “He’ll enhance. Quentin goes to be a very good participant.’’
Though Houston and Memphis are faculty rivals, Hardaway, the Tigers’ coach, labored out Grimes within the lead-up to the draft.
“He is aware of I’m a shooter — I performed towards Memphis thrice,’’ Grimes mentioned. “[Hardaway] mentioned hold taking pictures and so they’re going to go in like they did as we speak [Friday]. And he feels I can use my point-guard expertise and play on the ball. Penny sees the sport and he sees the right way to play for your self and your teammates.’’
Grimes transferred from Kansas to Houston after one rocky season after being one of many hottest high-school recruits in 2018. He was projected as a one-and-done, however he wanted two extra seasons at Houston rebuilding his picture.
“Credit to him,’’ Sampson mentioned. “He struggled his first yr, discovered his footing his second yr and knocked the door down in his third. Had he come out in his first yr, I doubt he’d nonetheless be within the NBA.’’