The Knicks are in the middle of an eight-game winning streak but will be without their catalyst on Wednesday night as Quentin Grimes is set to miss the game against the Raptors with a right ankle sprain.
Grimes has battled foot injuries throughout the season, so the Knicks are being cautious with their breakout guard.
After performing well in the Summer League, Grimes was sidelined with a foot injury at the start of training camp. He then played in the final game of the preseason but missed the beginning of the regular season with foot soreness again. He then played in two games, starting one, before foot soreness sidelined him again.
While this ankle injury appears to be unrelated, the team will likely want to ensure they don’t put any unnecessary strain on Grimes’ feet given how essential he has been to the team’s recent turnaround.
Since Grimes was moved into the starting rotation 15 games ago, the Knicks have gone 10-5, which is the 5th-best winning percentage in the league, and have a plus/minus of 8.3 and a net rating of 8.1, both of which are the best in the NBA.
Given Grimes’ defensive excellence, a bigger sign of his impact on the team has been the team’s turnaround on defense since he’s become a starter. New York is giving up just 107.1 points per game over that game span, which is second-best in the NBA behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are also holding opponents to a 45.1% field goal percentage, which is third-best in the league.
With Grimes out, the Knicks will turn to Immanuel Quickley in the starting lineup. However, with Quickley already playing 26 minutes a game off the bench in December, a spot in the rotation will likely open up with Grimes on the shelf tonight.
Could that mean another opportunity for forward Cam Reddish?
Reddish joined the Knicks’ starting lineup on November 5th and started eight games before being sidelined with a groin injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Grimes and effectively lost his place in the rotation altogether, appearing in just four games during the recent 14-game stretch and not appearing in any of the last eight.
As a result, Reddish has been at the heart of recent Knicks trade rumors, with some sources speculating that he could be packaged with Evan Fournier in a trade with the Lakers for Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn.
Tonight’s game could be a chance for Reddish to showcase the assets that could make the 23-year-old a valuable trade asset. A plus wing defender, Reddish is another good slasher off of the wing, which would provide RJ Barrett with more spacing for his three-point shot. Reddish could also slot into Grimes’ spot at small forward in the small ball lineups with Quickley and Miles McBride in the second unit.
However, Reddish is not quite the defender Grimes is and is shooting just 30% from beyond the arc, so even if he plays he will see the fewest minutes in the rotation rather than the 26+ minutes Quickley had been seeing off of the bench.
Still, it would appear that tonight could be the perfect opportunity for a young player to showcase his versatility and for the Knicks to try to improve his trade value as they work to build a team that can make a deep run in the postseason.