With the No. 25 pick, the Knicks selected Houston guard Quentin Grimes, who helped lead the Cougars to the Final Four this past season.
Knicks president Leon Rose didn’t get his top-priority 3-point shooting wing in the first round but he strategically traded back and got a solid two-way guard who may have been undervalued.
After trading both their first-round picks at 19 and 21 with an eye toward stockpiling more futures, the Knicks took University of Houston 6-foot-4 shooting guard Quentin Grimes at No. 25 in Thursday’s draft.
According to a source, the Knicks were wowed by Grimes’ workout this month. They liked his size, shooting and toughness on defense. He was one of three NCAA players this season to hit 100 3-pointers. He shot 40.3 percent from deep and averaged 17.9 points.
Grimes transferred from Kansas to Houston in 2019. Six weeks ago, he was thought to be more likely to be selected in the early second round.
The Knicks’ priority was a scoring wing but all their best guys were off the board, including Oregon’s sharpshooter Chris Duarte, taken at No. 13 by Indiana. All attempts to trade up were rebuffed.
After trading the No. 19 pick to Charlotte for a future first-rounder, Rose’s Knicks then traded the 21st pick to the Clippers and got back L.A.’s 25th and a 2024 second-rounder.
That’s two more future pawns to wheel in a potential blockbuster trade if Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal become available.
The Clippers took Tennessee’s guard Keon Johnson at No. 21. Charlotte took Texas center Kai Jones at No. 19 in the Knicks’ spot. And the Knicks took Grimes with the 25th pick.
Grimes also is one of just two NCAA players who ranked in the top 10 in offensive and defensive rating, and scouts deem him NBA ready.
Scouts don’t view Grimes as a potential star, but at the NBA combine last month, he likely played his way into first-round consideration as a solid role guy.
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Grimes has had an odd journey. He was slated as a one-and-done lottery-pick stud when he came to the Jayhawks as a freshman. He tested the draft waters, but transferred to Houston after a disappointing freshman year.
The final shooting wing the Knicks liked went off the board at No. 17 when the Pelicans took Virginia’s Trey Murphy, to moans from the Barclays Center crowd. Duke’s small forward Jalen Johnson was on the board but had too much baggage, quitting the team in February. Atlanta took Johnson with the 20th pick.
The Knicks attempted to move up to No. 13 to draft Duarte but didn’t offer Indiana enough. The Pacers snapped up the 3-point machine who plays rugged defense. Indiana may have taken Baylor point guard Davion Mitchell, another trade-up target, at No. 13 but he was off the board at No. 9.
The Knicks also lost a target in Stanford freshman wing Ziaire Williams, taken 10th overall. Even Oklahoma City’s pick of point guard Tre Mann of Florida was someone the Knicks had considered — at No. 21.
Last year, the Knicks gave away their 33rd pick with point guard Theo Maledon on the board for a future second-rounder.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Marc Berman