This report discusses Kansas guard Quentin Grimes.
Last summer, Quentin Grimes looked very well positioned to be a no-doubt one-and-done player at the University of Kansas. In fact, Grimes looked to be headed toward a very likely lottery selection in the 2019 NBA draft. Nothing he did in his one collegiate season looked anything like it was supposed to, though, and now Grimes’ place in the draft class is extremely uncertain.
He was playing in most, if not all, of the highest profile basketball events (FIBA, etc.) that the best high school recruits playing after their senior year of high school and before the NCAA season begins. At those events he was often considered one of the single best American players to participate. He functioned as a lead guard, not a traditional point guard. His value came in the form of his ability to create his own shot and his willingness to put in effort on the defensive end of the court.
As to determine where he stacks up in this draft class, NBA teams are going to have to figure out who the real Quentin Grimes is: the one that had a mostly underwhelming season last year with the Jayhawks, or the one that has long been considered one of the 10 best players in his high school class.
At Kansas, Grimes was asked to play almost exclusively off of the ball, and his adjustment to that role seemed to never happen. He wasn’t an awful player, but 8.4 points and 2.0 assists on 38.4% shooting from the field is far from the production that was expected of him given the endless number of accolades he received during his high school career.
Although he did not get many opportunities to use it, Grimes possesses a nice set of ball skills. He’s a good, but not great, athlete, but he’s fluid and seems to have solid instincts. He has number of go to skills as a ball handler that allows him to set up and get separation from his defender at all three levels.
He did knock down a respectable 34.0% of his three point attempts last season, but he was average, at best, finishing at the rim and overall his shot would come and go seemingly for no obvious reason.
His most promising offensive skill is the balance he demonstrates as a shooter. He does not have to have perfect launch space to be able to stay square to the basket as a shooter. He’s a little reminiscent of Jamal Murray in this area of play. If he can ultimately land with a NBA team, the player development staff should have a reasonable chance at helping refine the aspects of his shooting form that need to be cleaned up to make him a more consistent shooter.
He’s a team player. He will make the right pass and doesn’t just chase his numbers in the way that some players with similar skill sets might. To some degree, the fact that he played with effort in a sub-optimal role last year suggests that he should be initially considered to be invested in team results over personal results.
It’s strange to think of him this way at this point but Grimes defensive play seems to be more certain to project to the NBA level than his offensive game, but his upside is mostly tied to what he might be able to become offensively.
Measuring in at 6’5 and 210 pounds, he might have just enough size, in time, to be projected as a player that might eventually be able to defend at three positions at the professional level. Not being an explosive athlete, he will need to get much stronger, but if he stays in the draft and lands with an NBA team for the 2019-20 season he will play his entire rookie campaign at the age of 19.
The youngster works hard, demonstrating very good technique defending at the point of attack. He stays connected to his defender, works over screens reasonably well and just works all the way through a full defensive possession.
Like many players his age, the areas of improvement on the defensive end of the court are related to what he is doing when defending away from the play. Grimes is a willing help defender and mostly communicates well, but his recognition of how to help his team defend as a unit when he is off the ball needs improvement. He’s an average rebounder for his position.
Grimes might be a player with just enough upside projection that a team that believes in his work ethic and team-mindedness and one that believes in their own ability to develop players towards one of his better outcomes could use a valuable pick to acquire him. And that kind of sounds like the Hawks.
A lot of options for Grimes could be on the table. He could commit to this draft and believe that his skills will translate in workout sessions with NBA teams such that he ends up being drafted. He could also return to Kansas for a second season seeking more opportunity to play on ball than he did last season. Finally, he could seek a transfer to a program that might empower him more as a primary offensive creator.
Grimes is a player that is worth tracking as reports start to surface about which players are doing well in NBA workouts. I find him an intriguing player for Hawks’ fans to follow given the number of picks and flexibility Atlanta has heading into the 2019 NBA draft.